Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, quality, compassionate care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that after less than six years in operation, the Gamma Knife® team at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health’s Brain Tumor Center has reached a significant milestone, performing its 1000th procedure. Patients have traveled from as far afield as Montana and St. Croix to receive incision-free radiosurgery for a variety of tumors and other lesions of the brain.

The Jewish Hospital is the only hospital in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky region to offer Gamma Knife surgery, which uses beams of radiation to precisely target and destroy tumors deep within the brain without incisions and with minimal effect on healthy tissue. It can also treat other neurological conditions and vascular disorders. Gamma Knife procedures last several minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the area needing treatment, and most patients go home the same day. Because Gamma Knife procedures are incision-free, patients benefit from quicker recovery times, and the risk of infection is eliminated. Some Gamma Knife patients have previously undergone traditional brain surgery that failed to remove tumors in their entirety.

More brain tumor patients than ever have benefited from life-saving radiosurgery, thanks to The Jewish Hospital’s 2017 investment in upgraded Gamma Knife Icon™ technology. The Icon allows the brain tumor team to treat tumors of any shape, size, location and number with ultra-high precision while delivering lower toxicity to normal tissue than any competing technology. It also provides an option to fixate the patient during treatment with a non-invasive mask, enabling doctors to treat larger tumors or greater numbers of metastatic brain tumors in five separate “fractionated” sessions. Delivering a fraction of the total radiation dose over a period of days allows normal cells time to repair themselves between treatments and may reduce side effects.

The Gamma Knife team includes neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, and critical care nurses who create the patient’s treatment plan and perform the procedure. Together, they have treated patients with:

  • Brain metastases, cancer that has spread to the brain from elsewhere in the body
  • Glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and most aggressive brain cancer
  • Benign brain tumors, including meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, and pituitary adenomas
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a painful inflammation of the nerve responsible for most facial sensation
  • Arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins that disrupts normal blood flow in the brain

“One thousand Gamma Knife procedures is a significant milestone, one that reflects our team’s experience and expertise in managing the most complex brain tumor cases,” said Ronald Warnick, MD, Co-Director of the Gamma Knife Center at The Jewish Hospital and a neurosurgeon with Mayfield Brain & Spine. “Treating substantial numbers of patients has also enabled us to join national, multi-center research studies, which in turn will help us provide even better, more personalized patient care.”

“Advances in medicine such as the Gamma Knife have led to remarkable outcomes for many patients who previously faced invasive procedures with long recoveries,” said Peter Fried, MD, radiation oncologist with OHC (Oncology Hematology Care) and Co-Director of the Gamma Knife program at The Jewish Hospital. “It’s very satisfying to know that this innovative tool has helped 1,000 people be well in such a short span of less than six years.”

Gamma Knife treatment has little risk of potential morbidities, such as hemorrhage, which are associated with conventional surgery. More than 30 years of clinical studies documented in more than 2,500 published medical papers reveal the effectiveness of Gamma Knife surgery.

The Brain Tumor Center at The Jewish Hospital includes the most experienced skull base brain tumor program featuring fellowship-trained neurosurgeons and ENT surgeons, the region’s only Gamma Knife ICON radiosurgery program, a multidisciplinary Brain Tumor Board and a nationally recognized bone marrow transplant program.