Johnston-Willis Hospital
April 16, 2018

Radiosurgery technique that uses precise radiation beams to treat tumors and other disorders in the brain.

Richmond, VA (April 16, 2018) — HCA Virginia’s neuroscience center at Johnston-Willis Hospital is now offering the latest technology for the treatment of patients with both cancerous and benign brain tumors and other neurological disorders.

The Leksell Gamma Knife Icon is the latest advancement in Elekta's Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery system (SRS) - the most clinically proven radiosurgery technique that uses precise radiation beams to treat tumors and other disorders in the brain. Contrary to the name, Gamma Knife is actually a minimally-invasive, knife-less procedure.

The system will make cranial SRS available to more patients and is expected to improve the efficacy of intracranial SRS with fewer side effects. Cranial refers to the skull, especially the area enclosing the brain. Icon also provides the flexibility for single dose administration or multiple treatment sessions over time, which enables treatment of larger tumor volumes, targets close to critical brain structures and new or recurring brain metastases, or spread of cancer cells.

"With stereotactic imaging and ultra-precise dose delivery and the availability of frameless treatments, Leksell Gamma Knife Icon is capable of treating virtually any target in the brain, regardless of type,”   said K. Singh Sahni, M.D., medical director of the Neuroscience and Gamma Knife Center at Johnston-Willis Hospital. "The new Gamma Knife system, Icon, provides the most accurate motion tracking during treatment, as well as integrated imaging and both frame and frameless treatment capabilities. This allows for the best treatment modality for brain tumors while fully protecting the normal brain cells. We can now treat patients with multiple metastatic tumors from breast and lung cancer.”

According to Sahni, there is a far superior sparing of the normal brain tissue as well as minimizing the spread of radiation to other organs when compared to the conventional radiation tools.

Gamma Knife is the only SRS system designed specifically to target brain tissue, an area in which precise dose targeting is especially important for preserving brain function and minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue. This high level of precision makes Gamma Knife an increasingly used treatment option for patients with primary or metastatic brain tumors and other neurologic disorders such as vascular malformations and severe facial pain like trigeminal neuralgia - a rare neurological disorder with symptoms including extreme facial pain.

Johnston-Willis first acquired Gamma Knife technology in 2004 and in 2007, replaced its original technology with the Gamma Knife Perfexion. For nearly 14 years, patients with multiple tumors have received treatment in a single visit, often on an outpatient basis with shorter recovery times. The American Cancer society declared in its conference that this form of treatment for brain tumors is far superior and more effective with less morbidity over the conventional whole brain radiation which is done over several days in most hospitals.

Gamma Knife treatment has brought patients to Johnston-Willis Hospital from all over the United States. Today, Johnston-Willis has performed more than 3,500 treatments on brain tumors and other neurological disorders. It has remained the only hospital in Richmond and only one of two in Virginia to offer this advanced radiosurgery system for head treatment.  

“For 14 years, this sophisticated technology has offered hope to many patients, whose brain tumors previously may have been inoperable” said Zach McCluskey, chief executive officer of Johnston-Willis Hospital. “We are proud to make this latest generation of gamma knife available to our patients and are confident that this will continue to positively impact our community and region.”

Johnston-Willis Hospital is one of only a handful of Joint Commission certified brain tumor centers in the United States, and the only one in Virginia.