Gamma Knife Systems Hold Promise in Modern Healthcare Practices for Precision Treatment Norms


Published Date : Mar 02, 2016

Across the world, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer and obesity and an increasing geriatric population pool are reasons advancement of healthcare practices. In this regard, radiation therapy is a major procedure that involves administering high dose of radiation precisely. Gamma knife radiosurgery in an important type of radiation therapy for the treatment of tumors, small and medium-sized lesions usually in the brain.

Incongruent to its name, gamma knife radiosurgery does not involve actual surgery nor does it involve the use of knife of any type. Gamma knife systems used for the procedure are denoted as cobalt 60, as cobalt is the source of gamma rays for these systems. In gamma knife radiosurgery, beams of highly-focused gamma rays are transmitted for treating tumors and lesions. This includes transmitting tiny rays as much as 200 that target the maligned cells and tumors. 

Gamma knife radiosurgery offers several advantages over other radiation therapies and over traditional brain surgery. The procedure involves extreme precision to target only the maligned cells causing minimal damage to healthy tissues in the vicinity. This line of treatment is preferred for low chances of side effects in comparison with other radiation therapies. Generally, gamma knife radiosurgery is carried out in a single sitting and completed in one day itself.

North America is an important market for gamma knife radiosurgery as it is very much part of mainstream medicine in the region. In this region, increasing incidence of cancer and an increased awareness among consumers for hi-tech healthcare is propelling demand for gamma knife radiosurgery procedures. As per the World Health Organization, in 2000, in the U.S., approximately 2.8 million cancer cases were recorded, which includes brain cancer cases as well. As per records of the Hindawi Publishing Company, an international publication for surgical oncology, approximately 98,000 to 170,000 new cases of brain deformities are registered in North America every year. The prevalence of brain deformities in such high numbers in the region are reasons for an increasing demand for radiosurgery treatment such as gamma knife type.

Due to its use for critical health conditions, gamma knife systems are subject to stringent regulatory clearances that require long approval time. This is slowing the installation of these systems for modern healthcare.