The Only Gamma Knife in Bulgaria – A New Era In Brain Tumors Treatment

For a first time in Bulgaria at the Heart And Brain Center of Clinical Excellence in Pleven has been created and functions a complex oncology center, which makes contemporary diagnostics, high-tech treatment and long-term tracking of condition possible – what only the largest oncological centers in USA and West Europe do.

One quite crucial and general component is the presence of the most-advanced radiotherapy complex of equipment consisting of Gamma knife, linear accelerator, 4D scanner, dosimetric equipment, as well as their servicing databases and computer software for planning, conducting and quality control of radiotherapy and radiosurgery of diseases of the whole body and especially the main brain and central nervous system.

Gamma Knife

WHAT IS IT?

“Surgical” radiation therapy used to treat functional abnormalities and small brain tumors is also called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Leksell Gamma Knife is historically the first designed and clinically implemented SRS system in the world and the only such platform created specifically for the treatment of brain diseases.

Gamma Knife is used for treatment of all kinds of tumors located in the area of the head with most-optimal effect with size of the mass of up to 3 cm. In between one and five procedures, a high dose of radiation in the direction of the tumor tissue is concentrated. This is executed with exceptional accuracy – about one-tenth part of the millimeter  and this accuracy is being checked and confirmed each day before conducting a treatment and is being constantly monitored while the radiation is ongoing.

The technology is best adapted for specialized radiosurgical (RS) treatment in the area of ​​the brain and meninges. RS gives excellent results in tumors located near important brain centers. The method blocks the ability of pathological tissue to multiply by damaging vital structures of diseased cells. This way, they gradually die and the tumor shrinks and disappears, being partially replaced by connective tissue. Benign and malignant tumors in the area of ​​the brain are treated by a bloodless method and without standard surgical intervention – this avoids incisions and the need for sutures; no hair removal required; the surrounding brain structures responsible for hearing, vision, movement, breathing or heart activity are not damaged; the patient does not need anesthesia.

The integrated platform of the Gamma Knife and the carefully calibrated components allow ultra-high precision (around 0.15mm), as well as tens of times decreased amount of radiation compared to other systems.

WHICH DISEASES COULD BE TREATED?

The Gamma Knife could be used for treatment of brain indications ranging from very small target volumes varying in size from a few millimeters to those a few centimeters in size, including areas of the brain that are not accessible by traditional surgery methods or are located near critical areas such as the brainstem, optic or auditory nerve, and others.

BENIGN BRAIN TUMORS

  • Meningiomas
  • Pituitary tumor
  • Vestibular schwannomas (tumor of the auditory-equilibrium nerve)
  • Trigeminal schwannomas
  • Hemangioblastomas
  • Tumors of the pineal region
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Tumor of the jugular body
  • Chordoma

MALIGNANT BRAIN TUMORS

  • Malignant melanoma
  • Uveal melanoma
  • Some glial tumors
  • Hemangiopericytoma
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

DISEASES OF THE BLOOD VESSELS

  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
  • Cavernomas
  • Cerebral cavernous malformations
  • Dural arteriovenous fistulas

FUNCTIONAL DISEASES

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

MOTOR DISORDERS

  • Tremor associated with Parkinson’s disease
  • Essential tremor

ADVANTAGES OF TREATMENT WITH GAMMA KNIFE

  • Safer minimally invasive procedure
  • Healthy brain tissue is exposed to a very low dose of radiation
  • No open surgery is required, no surgical incision and sutures
  • No general anesthesia is required
  • Minimal risk of treatment-related side effects
  • The hair does not fall out and should not be cut
  • Minimum hospital stay – the patient can return home or work on the same day