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Gamma Knife Offers New Hope to People Suffering from Brain Tumors, Other Conditions

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 10/08/2003

Gamma Knife Offers New Hope to People Suffering from Brain Tumors, Other Conditions


A revolutionary tool called the Gamma Knife is offering new hope to Michigan residents suffering from brain tumors or other abnormalities. This new type of surgery -- now available at MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland -- is considered the world’s most advanced treatment option for many types of brain conditions including:

  • Brain tumors – Benign and malignant tumors, as well as deeply embedded or multiple tumors previously considered inoperable
  • Arteriovenous malformation - tangled blood vessels that can cause stroke in young people
  • Acoustic neuroma - non-cancerous growth on a nerve, which can interfere with hearing and balance
  • Trigeminal neuralgia – severe facial pain arising from a disordered nerve in the brain

Despite its name, the Gamma Knife does not require cutting into the body at all. Instead, it uses computerized data from MRI or CT scans to target the abnormality with pinpoint accuracy using multiple beams of radiation.

Each beam emanates from a different location so that tissue along the route to the tumor receives only a harmless, low-dose beam of radiation. At the targeted spot, the beams converge to zap the tumor or other lesion with enough radiation to destroy it.

Over the past 30 years, more than 200,000 patients around the world have safely and successfully undergone Gamma Knife surgery. The Gamma Knife is not considered experimental and is covered by most insurance plans.

“The Gamma Knife is not only a highly effective treatment for many patients, especially those with smaller brain tumors or multiple brain metastases,” said Brian Copeland, M.D., medical director of neurosciences at the Medical Center. “It also allows patients to avoid the trauma of traditional surgery and risks such as hemorrhage and infection.”

MidMichigan Radiation Oncologist Rajnikant Mehta, M.D. pointed out another benefit of Gamma Knife surgery. “Following treatment, patients can return to their normal activities within days, instead of after several weeks, as with traditional brain surgery.”

Thanks to area foundations and the Medical Center’s Gift Shop Guild, which together have pledged about half of the project’s $4.3 million cost, patients in central and northern Michigan and western Ontario now have access to this advanced technology.

If you know of someone who might benefit from Gamma Knife surgery, talk to your doctor or contact MidMichigan’s Gamma Knife coordinator at (989) 839-1776 or toll free at (866) MI-GAMMA. More information about the Gamma Knife is available online at

Media Contact:
Carol Campbell
Assistant Vice President
Phone (989) 839-3351

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