Cutting-edge technology for brain surgery now available in JHB

Precision brain surgery technology has been rolled out at Johannesburg’s Netcare Milpark Hospital.

From left to right: Neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist Dr Dheerendra Prasad of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York, radiation oncologist Dr Sylvia Rodrigue,  patient Mrs Melanie Thomson and neurosurgeon Dr Frans Swart. Mrs Thomson, who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, was one of the first patients to receive Gamma Knife Icon treatment at Netcare Milpark Hospital. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Precision brain surgery technology has been rolled out at Johannesburg’s Netcare Milpark Hospital.

This will enable medical personnel to treat tumours in the brain, head and neck.

The Leksell Gamma Knife Icon resembles a CT scan machine.

It delivers powerful doses of precision-targeted radiation to tumours and at the same time preserves healthy nerves and tissue.

Unit manager for Gamma Knife South Africa Adele Poole says the technology is an alternative to traditional brain surgery.

Poole also celebrates the fact that there are fewer risks.

“Some patients may not be suitable for surgery or they might have lesions that are surgically inaccessible. This now provides them with another option for treatment.”

The technology can also be applied to the treatment of vascular malformations in the brain as well as functional disorders.

Dr Maurizio Zorio, who practises at the hospital, says the new Gamma Knife Icon centre is the first of its kind in Southern Africa.

"The introduction of Gamma Knife Icon is a tremendously exciting advancement in medicine in our country, as this is the most precise radiosurgery device on the market internationally.

"The technology delivers powerful doses of precision-targeted radiation that acts as a surgeon’s ‘scalpel’. This greatly reduces many of the risks associated with traditional cranial surgery as it enables us to consistently limit radiation doses to healthy tissue,” explained Dr Zorio.

He adds that South Africans will no longer need to travel abroad in order to access the very latest in cranial radiosurgery.

"In addition to serving local patients, the new centre will also provide hope for patients from across the African continent and elsewhere in the world. We expect to provide treatment to some 400 patients a year."

Another advantage of the Gamma Knife Icon is that there is usually no need for the patient to be admitted to hospital, as the Gamma Knife Icon treatments are performed as day procedures.

Oncologist Dr Samuel Fourie says that this treatment has a number of advantages, for certain patients and conditions, over traditional surgery.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)