A brief history:
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery was designed more than 50 years ago by a Swedish neurosurgeon, Professor Lars Leksell, at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. His idea was to treat deeply located areas of the brain using Gamma rays as with a scalpel (whence the name “Gamma Knife”).
An initial radiosurgical machine (Gamma Knife model U) was developed under the direction of Professor Leksell and was used for the first time in 1968.  The development of information technology techniques and progress in medical imagery led to the improvement of the Gamma Knife (model B, marketed in 1988; model C, marketed in 1999; model 4C, marketed in 2004), to carry out the equivalent of a deep surgical gesture in the brain with a precision below one millimetre without using a scalpel.  Gamma Knife is today used throughout the world.By December 2012, more than 740.000 patients has benefited from a treatment by Gamma Knife.

The Gamma Knife treatment requires a Gamma Knife unit, i.e. the irradiation machine itself, a stereotaxic frame, modern medical imaging equipment (magnetic resonance, scanner, etc.), a computerised irradiation dosage planning system, and a control system to ensure a high degree of quality and safety during the treatment.

 The Gamma Knife Centre of the Free University of Brussels at the Erasmus Hospital is equipped with a Gamma Knife model 4C.  The machine weighs some twenty tons, and is 4 metres wide, 2 metres long and 2 metres high.  It provides a positioning precision below 0.15 millimetre during treatment.

Detailed characteristics of the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion

  • 4.4 x 2 x 1.8 m 20 tonnes
  • positioning precision: <0.15 mm
  • 201 sources of Cobalt 60 emitting Gamma rays
  • Total initial radioactivity: 6.000 Ci
  • Radioactive dose delivered at the focal point: <3 Gy/min
  • Approximate cost: €4 million
  • Automated positioning system (APSTM)
  • Planning assistant and multiple matrices
  • Image co-recording programme MultiviewTM

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