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Published on March 31, 2016

Avera Cancer Institute Announces Gamma Knife Treatment

SIOUX FALLS – Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls announces that it is the first health care facility in the Dakotas to offer Elekta Gamma Knife PerfexionTM treatment for brain tumors. Before this May, people in the Sioux Falls region and anywhere in the Dakotas had to choose between Rochester, Minn., or Omaha, for this specialized level of care.

The Gamma Knife is innovative, state of the art technology that is an extremely accurate form of radiation therapy. The Gamma Knife is considered the gold standard for non-invasive treatment of brain disorders.

A brain tumor is a serious condition that can affect everything from speech and emotion to vision and movement. Gamma Knife technology provides Avera’s multidisciplinary team a vital nonsurgical option to treat a wide spectrum of brain tumors.

Because every tumor is different, treatment options also vary depending on a number of factors including health of the patient, and size and location of the tumor. Gamma Knife is one of several possible treatments for brain tumors in addition to traditional surgery to remove the lesion, including chemotherapy and external radiation.

The innovative and high-tech design of the Gamma Knife allows for the delivery of the highest therapeutic doses to the smallest treatable tumors. As opposed to other forms of radiation treatment, which may require multiple treatments over the course of three to six weeks, Gamma Knife is a one-time treatment. The patient can have the procedure and go home the same day with very few, if any, side effects.

Common uses include treatment for cancerous brain tumors, cancer in the brain that has spread from another location, non-cancerous brain lesions, and circumstances in which traditional surgery isn’t an option due to health concerns or critical location.

A multidisciplinary team, including a radiation oncologist, neurosurgeon and physicist will work together to determine the best method of treatment for each patient. Cancer specialists work together to recommend treatment based on the size, type and location of the tumor, whether that is traditional surgery, Gamma Knife or another treatment.

Gamma Knife will be ready for patient treatments in May. Avera’s team of physicians includes Wissam Asfahani, MD; Henk Klopper, MD; Michael Puumala, MD; and Daniel Tynan, MD of Avera Medical Group Neurosurgery and James Simon, MD and Kyle Arneson, MD of Avera Medical Group Radiation Oncology. Asfahani and Simon are the lead physicians with Gamma Knife, and both are looking forward to how this can help people in the five-state area who are suffering from brain tumors and other brain disorders such as arteriovenous malformations and trigeminal neuralgia – both non-cancerous neurological conditions. They believe this adds an important tool in an ever-increasing arsenal to fight neurological tumors.

“The primary treatment of most intracranial disease (brain tumors and lesions) is still surgery,” said Simon, “Unfortunately, not all tumors or cancerous lesions can be safely removed without causing long-term side effects to the brain. In these situations, an equally effective alternative therapy is critical.”

Because Gamma Knife treatment can shrink the tumor to be nearly invisible, there are cases in which improving quality of life is the goal by managing the size of the tumor to minimize damage to important functions of the brain, Asfahani said. “With the Gamma Knife we’re able to control the disease as much as possible,” he said.

“Having the Gamma Knife is a great addition to the care of our patients. We feel blessed to have the best radiosurgical technique available, right here in Sioux Falls within the Avera footprint, and our patients no longer need to travel to Omaha or Rochester to be treated with this technology,” Simon said.

Learn more about Gamma Knife technology

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Media Contact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Lindsey Meyers
Vice President of Public Relations
Office: 605-322-7955
lindsey.meyers@avera.org

Jay Gravholt
Director of Media Relations
Office: 605-668-8585
jgravholt@avera.org

Michelle Pellman
Public Relations Coordinator
Office: 605-322-7963
michelle.pellman@avera.org

Paige Baskerville
Public Relations Coordinator
Office: 605-322-7956
paige.baskerville@avera.org

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