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Northside Hospital-Forsyth Cancer Center to debut technology to fight brain tumors

CUMMING — The newly renovated and expanded Northside Hospital-Forsyth Cancer Center is set to begin offering a new treatment for malignant and benign brain tumors and functional and vascular disorders in November.

The center will be the first in the Northside system to offer the Gamma Knife Perfextion unit, which will be in its neuro oncology program and available to benefit hundreds of patients requiring treatment of both types of brain lesions.

Despite the name, there is no blade or knife involved in the surgery. The procedure is a non-invasive alternative to traditional brain surgery that delivers focused high-dose beams of radiation to selected areas deep within the brain.

No scalpel is needed, which takes away the usual risks of surgery or an incision.

“The Gamma Knife Perfexion is able to treat multiple lesions in a single session,” said Peter Possert, medical director of the program. “And it successfully treats previously unreachable lesions.”

The unit is designed for treatment of malignant and benign brain tumors, vascular abnormalities and functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia.

This type of radiosurgery is typically performed in a single outpatient treatment session without general anesthesia, Possert said.

“For patients, this means they will undergo a non-invasive form of brain surgery without surgical risks, a long hospital stay or subsequent rehabilitation,” he said.

Gamma Knife technology has changed the landscape within the field of neurosurgery in the last three decades, according to Northside.

Its development has enhanced neurosurgical treatments offered to patients “with brain tumors and vascular malformations by providing a safe, accurate and reliable treatment option.”

According to the hospital, “More than 70,000 patients globally are treated safely and successfully with Gamma Knife each year. Most patients return home the same day after the treatment is completed. Many clinicians prefer this technology due to the patient comfort, accuracy and treatment outcomes.”

The Northside Hospital-Forsyth Gamma Knife team consists of “highly skilled and experienced radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, medical physicists and nursing staff.”

Treatments are covered by most insurance companies and Medicare.