The Photon Knife is a special, minimally invasive type of "brain surgery" that uses high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to treat and eradicate intracranial tumors and other abnormalities. The Photon Knife sends a laser - sharp, high-intensity X-ray beam that delivers up to seven weeks of radiation therapy to an area as small as five millimeters in approximately 20 minutes. This painless procedure is performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. No "surgery" is actually performed; there are no incisions or bleeding. Amazingly, the patient is able to resume normal activities the very next day. No longer does the patient have to endure having his or her hair shaved, lengthy hospitalization, months of radiation therapy and debilitating side effects.

How does the Photon Knife procedure work? The neurosurgeon fits a stereotactic headframe on the patient during local anesthesia. The patient then undergoes an MRI or CT SCAN. This data is transferred to a special treatment planning system software program. A 3-D image of the brain and other critical anatomical structures is created. The team pinpoints the brain tumor’s exact location and calculates the proper radiation dosage and safest radiotherapeutic approach to the lesion. After first simulating the treatment, the team of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and radiation physicists are ready to administer the treatment. The patient is immobilized on the couch of the Linear Accelerator, the appropriate angle and collimator size are chosen and the treatment initiated.

The Photon Knife can treat these type lesions and conditions: Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs), Acoustic Tumors, Intractable Cancer Pain, Pituitary Tumors, Meningiomas, Craniopharyngiomas, Pineal Region Tumors, Metastatic Tumors, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Primary Malignant Brain Tumors and Skull Based Tumors.

Computerized dosimetry depicting the intense dose fall off in a patient being treated with the photon knife for a left acoustic neuroma.

Dr. Behar adjusts a patient's stereotactic headframe.