Department of  Neurosurgery
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Gamma Knife/Radiosurgery

Gamma Knife
Leksell Gamma Knife

Washington University School of Medicine offered the first Gamma Knife technology in Missouri. This technology enables physicians to treat brain targets that are surgically hard-to-reach or inaccessible with high accuracy and safety in a well-tolerated outpatient procedure. The Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion System focuses 192 radiation beams on precisely defined targets, without an incision and with minimal effects to surrounding healthy tissue. Gamma Knife radiosurgery has been performed over the past three decades, and it has become widely available in the past decade. The Gamma Knife unit has a long, well-documented history of accuracy and success in delivering focused radiation. More than 3,400 patients have been treated at the Washington University Gamma Knife Center.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a treatment option for a number of neurosurgical conditions. In some instances, it represents an alternative form of treatment that may be equivalent to an open neurosurgical procedure. Because it is generally performed on an outpatient basis, it is cost-efficient, preventing lengthy hospital stays, expensive medications, and occasional long-term rehabilitation.

The Gamma Knife Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is jointly owned by Barnes-Jewish Hospital and HealthSouth and opened in June 1998. The facility allows credentialed physicians from the St. Louis metropolitan area to treat patients with appropriate neurosurgical conditions within the Barnes-Jewish Hospital unit.

Conditions & Treatments

"Radiosurgery" is a term coined by Lars Leksell, MD, the pioneering developer of the Gamma Knife. The procedure involves the precise delivery of a volume of high-dose radiation contoured in a custom-tailored fashion to a distinct target in the brain. More specifically, Gamma Knife radiosurgery may be indicated for treatment of select patients with metastatic brain tumors, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, glomus tumors, arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and other vascular lesions, trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain), essential tremor, epilepsy, and selected other neurologic conditions.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is routinely performed as an outpatient procedure and typically lasts four to five hours. A customized treatment plan is developed for each individual patient.


Adult Neurosurgery Providers

Michael R. Chicoine, MD
Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD
Joshua L. Dowling, MD
Gavin P. Dunn, MD, PhD
Albert H. Kim, MD, PhD
Eric C. Leuthardt, MD
Keith M. Rich, MD
Gregory J. Zipfel, MD

Pediatric Neurosurgery Providers

Matthew D. Smyth, MD

Radiation Oncologists

Anthony Apicelli, MD, PhD
Christina Tsien, MD
Imran Zoberi, MD
Maria Thomas, MD
Stephanie Perkins, MD
Wade Thorstad, MD


Robert Drzymala, PhD
Lakshmi Santanam, PhD


More than 3,500 cases have been performed at the Gamma Knife Center of St. Louis

Specialty Links

Gamma Knife of St. Louis