Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center recently completed its 1,000th Gamma Knife radiosurgery procedure. Gamma Knife radiosurgery uses a single dose of radiation instead of a surgeon’s scalpel to treat a wide range of diseases, including both benign and malignant tumors, Parkinson’s disease, vascular malformation and lesions that cause epilepsy.
Penn State Hershey’s 1,000th Gamma Knife patient was Robert Reynolds from Mifflintown, Juniata County. Reynolds was treated for lung cancer that had spread to his brain. Since undergoing the procedure, Reynolds has returned to work as a Juniata County commissioner.
“We were able to treat five lesions in Mr. Reynolds’ brain,” said Dr. Jonas Sheehan, director of neuro-oncology at Penn State Hershey. “His case is a great example of how our experienced neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists are able to provide advanced care that allows patients with complex conditions to enjoy a high quality of life.”
Specialists at Penn State Hershey began performing Gamma Knife procedures in April 2006. In June 2012, the Medical Center became the first health care provider in central Pennsylvania to upgrade to Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ technology. The new system allows the surgical team to streamline the set-up for such procedures, perform radiosurgery more quickly and efficiently and treat multiple tumors during a single session. Penn State Hershey is the only facility in central Pennsylvania to offer the Perfexion technology.
Because no incision is made in a Gamma Knife procedure, the risk of surgical complications is low. The radiation is delivered in 192 beams precisely focused on the treatment area. Treatment is much shorter than conventional surgery and causes virtually no discomfort. Also, the patient leaves the hospital the day of the procedure – compared with a typical stay of several days or more for traditional brain surgery.