Radiation Oncology Services
Lifespan Cancer Institute

Gamma Knife Safety and Effectiveness

The efficiency and safety of the gamma knife are well established and documented. More than 150,000 patients have received gamma knife treatment at sites worldwide. Most types of tumors show response in 85 to 98 percent of cases. In more than 80 percent of patients, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) treated with gamma knife radiosurgery disappear completely within two years of treatment.

Gamma knife treatment rarely causes side effects and there is no risk of surgical complications such as infection, hemorrhage or leakage of cerebral spinal fluid.

The gamma knife has been used most effectively to treat small to medium-size (less than 3 centimeters or 1.25 inches) brain tumors and AVMs, although it can be used for larger targets. It is also used to treat residual lesions, diseased tissue that cannot be removed by conventional surgery, and recurring tumors.

The Perfexion gamma knife, available at Rhode Island Hospital, is able to target treatment within a half-millimeter of accuracy. It is the most advanced stereostatic radiosurgery technology currently available.

More about Gamma Knife at the Lifespan Cancer Institute