> For Referring Physicians

Information For Referring Physicians

We invite you to watch videos prepared for our colleagues:

Considerations of Gamma Knife Treatment

Indications and benefits: Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Gamma Knife® Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Medicare-approved, safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for patients with benign and malignant brain tumors or vascular and functional disorders of the brain.

Gamma Knife offers hope to patients with tumors formerly considered inoperable and those considered high-risk for open surgical procedures due to illness, advanced age, or other medical conditions. Patients may be eligible for Gamma Knife even if they previously had open brain surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, or embolization for arteriovenous malformations (AVM).

In 2017, the South Sound Gamma Knife team presented updated local results at the 19th International Leksell Gamma Knife® Society Meeting, March 4-8, 2018, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

Read our original local results presented at the 16th International Meeting of the Leksell Gamma Knife® Society, March 2012, in Sidney, Australia:

Features of the new Gamma  Knife Icon™ system

Gamma Knife Icon System

The latest generation of Gamma Knife technology introduces several technological advances:

—   A frameless option with thermoplastic mask, for select patients, negates the minor surgical procedure required for frame placement.

–   Advanced motion management using an infrared camera detects patient movement and adjusts the plan accordingly.

–   The frameless option allows single-dose administration or a fractionated approach, providing more comfort for patients through shorter treatment times over multiple sessions, and greater flexibility in scheduling. Fractionation enables the ability to treat larger tumors and new or recurring brain metastases.

–   Additional features enable treatment of previously difficult-to-treat tumors, including lesions abutting very sensitive areas such as the optic chiasm.

The frame option remains a leading technology and will continue to be used for all tremor and trigeminal neuralgia cases, as well as other cases as deemed optimal. Both frame and frameless options will still require an MRI prior to treatment, with a cone beam CT on frameless cases for initial positioning. A single, one-time treatment plan is all that is required, even for fractionated cases. Our team consults with each patient to create a unique treatment plan and recommend the best option for care, including whether to use the frame or mask.

Learn more about the Icon


In this section:

Common indications for Gamma Knife

  • Metastatic tumors within the head originating from a primary site elsewhere in the body
  • Malignant or benign tumors originating within the brain or its coverings, including gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary and pineal tumors, acoustic neuromas, and others
  • AVMs and other vascular disorders of the brain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Movement disorders such as essential tremor in patients who are not candidates for deep brain stimulation


Treatment day side effects may include headache after removal of the head frame, if used, or mild nausea; both can be relieved with medication. Uncommon, delayed complications may include injury to surrounding brain and edema, which are reversible with proper treatment. Other rare complications are dependent on diagnosis and discussed with the patient during evaluation. There is a small risk of radiation-induced damage to surrounding tissues.

Insurance coverage

Gamma Knife procedures are covered by most medical insurance plans. Prior authorization is required and limited to specific diagnostic reasons. South Sound Gamma Knife at St Joseph will preauthorize the procedure with your patient’s insurance carrier.


South Sound Gamma Knife at St. Joseph
1802 S. Yakima, Suite 103, Tacoma, WA 98405
Phone: 253-284-2438
Toll free: 1-866-254-3353
Fax: 253-272-7054