Beaumont offers new treatment option with radiation Gamma Knife


Southeast Michigan has a new option for advanced radiation treatment for brain tumors and neurological conditions with the installation of a Gamma Knife® at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

The $3.5-million Gamma Knife® uses 201 focused beams to deliver a highly therapeutic dose of radiation to the brain with pinpoint accuracy and without the risks of open surgery, such as general anesthesia, infection and bleeding. Only the target tissue receives a significant radiation dose where the radiation beams cross paths. No incision is required. Recovery is quick, and the treatment is generally done on an outpatient basis.

"With the availability of the Gamma Knife®, Beaumont will not only offer this treatment to residents in our community, we will be a regional and national referral center for treating patients with brain tumors and neurologic conditions," says Frank Vicini, M.D., corporate chief of Oncology Services.

In addition to brain tumors, the Gamma Knife®can be used for arteriovenous malformations and disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia, and for pain that isn't relieved by other treatments, Parkinson's disease, essential tremors, epilepsy and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Gamma Knife® treatment of some functional disorders such as Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and obsessive-compulsive disorder are areas of research with promising results.

Treatment generally takes 20-80 minutes, although patients will likely spend up to four hours at the hospital. The Gamma Knife® looks like a CT scanner. Patients are fitted with a special helmet to help direct the radiation beams and then lie on a treatment couch that slides into position. The treatment is completely painless and patients usually return to their normal level of activity within 24 hours.

Treatment is covered by commercial insurance and Medicare.

A multidisciplinary team including surgeons, radiation oncologists and radiation physicists offers treatment. Doctors in the community who wish to treat their patients with the Gamma Knife® may apply for special credentials to do so at Beaumont if they meet qualifying criteria.

Call Beaumont's department of Radiation Oncology at 248-551-1190 for more information.

Beaumont Hospitals' comprehensive cancer program is 36th in the nation on the 2006 list of America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. It includes services provided at the Beaumont cancer centers in Royal Oak and Troy, an integrative medicine program and private-practice oncology physician offices. The program is dedicated to cancer prevention, treatment, research and education. Since 2002, the National Cancer Institute has designated Beaumont Hospitals as a Community Clinical Oncology Program, one of only 63 such programs in the country. The designation means that adults and children in the area don't have to travel to participate in NCI-sponsored clinical research trials focusing on cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. This gives residents local access to groundbreaking cancer treatments.