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Northside lands new technology
Gamma Knife will be used on brain tumors
By 2016, Northside Hospital-Forsyth will be able to offer a new high-tech treatment for brain tumors and other neurological conditions with the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion with Extend System. - photo by For the FCN

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For more information about the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute and Gamma Knife services, call (404) 531-4444 or go to

CUMMING — Northside Hospital-Forsyth will become one of just two hospitals in Georgia to offer a new, high-tech treatment for brain tumors and other neurological conditions.

Georgia’s Department of Community Health recently approved the local hospital’s purchase of the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion with Extend System.

According to information from Northside, the tool allows physicians to use radiology to treat conditions that previously were considered inaccessible or inoperable with traditional Gamma Knife technology.

The technology is already advanced in comparison to standard surgical procedures as it offers a non-invasive alternative for many patients for whom traditional brain surgery is not an option.

The treatment often is offered in an out-patient setting, with a minimal hospital stay required afterward.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery, sometimes referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery, has long been considered “the gold standard” in treating brain disorders, said Patti Owen, director of Northside’s Cancer Institute.

It delivers precisely focused high-dose beams of radiation to selected areas deep within the brain, without a scalpel or the usual risks of surgery or an incision.

However, traditional Gamma Knife technology is not able to treat some tumors because of their size or location.

Owen said the Extend System feature is a game-changer in that it allows surgeons to non-invasively immobilize the patient’s head, allowing for more diverse surgeries.

Northside Hospital-Forsyth will be the only hospital in metro Atlanta, and one of just two in the state, to offer the advanced system.

Owen said the new system, which will be in place and available to patients by January 2016, will be used to treat metastatic disease, or cancer that has travelled to the brain from other parts of the body.

It also will be used to treat a spectrum of benign and malignant vascular and functional disorders, including arterio-venous malformations and Parkinson’s disease.

“Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy at some point during their treatment,” Owen said. “In 2013, Northside Hospital-Forsyth’s Cancer Center saw approximately 450 new cancer patients and delivered nearly 9,800 radiation therapy treatments for a variety of cancers.

“More cases of cancer are diagnosed and treated at Northside Hospital each year than any other hospital in Georgia.”

Other nationally recognized cancer centers, including MD Anderson and the Cleveland Clinic also have adopted the new technology, finding it to be the superior, and oftentimes only, treatment option for numerous intracranial conditions.

“We look forward to being able to offer Gamma Knife Extend technology to our patients, and to further demonstrating our commitment to providing the most advanced cancer treatments closer to home,” Owens said.