When the Northwest Indiana Gamma Knife Center at Methodist Hospitals opened in 2003, it was home to Northwest Indiana’s first Gamma Knife. Today, it’s equipped with the Gamma Knife Perfexion – the latest generation of the most advanced radiosurgical technology for the non-invasive treatment of malignant brain tumors and benign brain tumors, vascular malformations and trigeminal neuralgia.
The expanded treatment coverage of this new generation of Gamma Knife increases treatable indications by about 30 percent over previous Gamma Knife models. Additionally, its updated design enhances safety, with up to 100 times less peripheral radiation dose to patients than other technologies.
The Gamma Knife Perfexion at Methodist Hospitals is not merely the only Gamma Knife in Northwest Indiana, it’s the only Gamma Knife between South Bend and Chicago’s northwest suburbs.
Gamma Knife: A Preferred Treatment
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a form of stereotactic radiosurgery, an advanced form of radiation therapy. Although it sounds like surgery, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is minimally invasive, does not involve any incisions and does not require a hospital stay. It’s preferred by healthcare professionals for extreme accuracy, efficiency and outstanding therapeutic response.
Using advanced diagnostic imaging and three-dimensional planning software, the Gamma Knife Perfexion delivers 192 precisely focused beams of gamma radiation to small targets inside the brain. Delivery of radiation is concentrated into a single, precisely aimed point where all 192 beams converge to treat the diseased tissue while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is most often performed in a single outpatient visit, with patients returning to normal activities within 48 hours. The procedure is bloodless, virtually painless, does not cause hair loss, and allows rapid return to pre-treatment life style. Clinical outcomes are excellent and well-documented.
Who Can Benefit from Gamma Knife Treatments
Gamma Knife Perfexion treatment can be a primary option or used as an adjunct to conventional brain surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or interventional neuroradiology in selected patients. It is especially valuable for patients for whom conventional neurosurgical approaches would be difficult or impossible. Gamma Knife Perfexion treatment is typically performed without general anesthesia. As a result, it may be an effective alternative for patients of advanced age and/or those in poor medical condition to whom anesthesia or conventional surgery might pose significant risks.
Conditions treated at the Northwest Indiana Gamma Knife Center
at Methodist Hospitals include:
- Intracranial tumor, also known as brain tumor, including primary brain tumor and secondary brain tumor
- Benign brain tumor, including meningioma, acoustic neuroma and pituitary adenoma
- Malignant brain tumor, such as glioma
- Single metastatic brain tumor and multiple metastatic brain tumor
- Upper cervical spine tumor
- Vascular malformations, including vascular lesions and vascular seizure disorder
- Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as facial pain
Referring physicians and prospective patients are invited to call 800-763-8767 for a free consultation.
Gamma Knife Perfexion Team
Methodist Hospitals has assembled a multidisciplinary team of experienced radiotherapy experts who employ the unparalleled accuracy of the Gamma Knife Perfexion to maximize positive treatment results while minimizing complications.
M. Hytham Rifai, MD
Medical School: Damascus University
Residency: University of Illinois College of Medicine
Diplomate American Board of Neurological Surgery
Hayder Jaffer, MD
Medical School: University of Mosul, Iraq
Residency: Neurological Teaching Hospital, Iraq
Fellowship: Cleveland Clinic
Robert T. Woodburn III, MD
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine
Residency: Indiana University School of Medicine
Diplomate of the American Board of Radiology
Carmen R. Kmety-Stevenson, PhD
School: The Ohio State University
Medical Physics Residency: Mayo Clinic
Diplomate of the American Board of Radiology
The Gamma Knife Team believes that an ongoing, collaborative approach with referring providers is the best approach to serving Northwest Indiana patients. As a result, they consistently strive to keep referring physicians informed throughout all phases of Gamma Knife treatment.
“The Gamma Knife treated my brain tumor in 20 minutes.”
Testimonial by Ron Johnson, Brain Cancer Survivor
Back in 2011, Ron Johnson was successfully treated at Methodist Hospitals for two brain tumors. Then, eight years later, a routine scan revealed another new, small tumor. In both cases, Johnson was treated with the Gamma Knife, which delivers focused radiotherapy to treat tumors within the brain without affecting the surrounding brain tissue.
Johnson’s initial tumors resulted from lung cancer, which was treated in 2009, but had metastasized. At that time, his coworkers noticed behaviors suggesting something wasn’t right – he was dragging his foot when he walked and pulling a clipboard back every time his boss reached for it. His coworkers made sure he got home safely and urged him to seek medical attention.
At Methodist Hospitals emergency room, Johnson received a prompt diagnosis of brain cancer. His doctors recommended the Gamma Knife to remove the tumors in 2011. It was ultimately used to successfully remove two cancerous tumors in Johnson’s brain. “Everything looked great in my follow-ups for eight years and then they found a small tumor,” Johnson said.
Once again, Johnson’s Methodist Hospitals doctors recommended the Gamma Knife. The procedure took place within a week, this time with a new generation of the Gamma Knife technology. In January 2019, Methodist acquired the Gamma Knife Perfexion, the latest generation of this radiosurgery technology, a $3.5 million investment. Johnson could tell the difference. “The new Gamma Knife is awesome,” Johnson said. “It’s much easier and much more comfortable and quiet.”
Everything is computerized on the new Gamma Knife which means the radiation sources do not require manual adjustment.“The Perfexion saves time and is more comfortable for the patient,” said Johnson’s neurosurgeon, Hayder Jaffer, MD. “Because of the computerization there is less room for human error.”
Contrary to what the name implies, there is no knife involved in Gamma Knife radiosurgery and there is no surgery. The machine delivers a precise, targeted dose of radiation, sparing healthy tissue. “The beauty of the Gamma Knife is it can treat multiple lesions in one session, which is not the case with surgery,” Dr. Jaffer said. “There is no cutting and procedures are all outpatient versus a 6-hour surgical operation in which the patient is hospitalized for five to ten days.”
Dr. Jaffer explained that the Gamma Knife treats patients with all types of brain tumors up to three centimeters in size. It can also be used to treat those with trigeminal neuralgia, as well as all types of arteriovenous malformation. “As diagnostic tools become more advanced, lesions can be detected earlier and we can treat them before they are larger and require surgery,” Dr. Jaffer said. “I had no recovery time with the tumor being so small,” Johnson said. “I could have played golf the same day. The next day I was cutting grass and doing my normal things.” “A lot of people don’t know you can have this done right here in Northwest Indiana,” Johnson added, “instead of going to Chicago or a place like Mayo Clinic.”
This investment in the latest Gamma Knife technology is further evidence of Methodist Hospital’s commitment to lead the way to better health in Northwest Indiana. “These technologies are in big centers and university hospitals,” said Dr. Jaffer. ”To have a Gamma Knife here at Methodist Hospitals is a great benefit for our community.”