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Gamma Knife History

Swedish neurosurgeon Dr. Lars Leksell and a colleague, Börje Larsson, developed the first Gamma Knife model in 1968 during their search for a non-invasive modality to treat functional brain disorders. Subsequently, the Gamma Knife was proven to be beneficial in treating brain tumors and arteriovenous abnormalities. Continuing refinement through 1975 resulted in the forerunner of today’s Gamma Knife. In 1987, the Gamma Knife was introduced to the United States.

Over 700,000 patients worldwide have been safely and effectively treated with the Gamma Knife for malignant and benign brain tumors including single and multiple metastases, vascular abnormalities and functional disorders. The Gamma Knife represents one of the most technologically advanced radiosurgical instruments in use today.

The latest and most advanced version of the Leksell Gamma Knife, the Perfexion®, was unveiled in 2006 and became available to the people of the United States in 2007. The Fort Sanders Regional Gamma Knife Center at Thompson Cancer Survival Center became the first hospital in the State of Tennessee to obtain the Gamma Knife Perfexion in December 2011. We are also currently the only Gamma Knife Center in East Tennessee.


Patient Stories

  • Back in the Saddle

    After spine surgery at Fort Sanders Regional, Michelle Rose is finally free from the suffering that held her back for so long.

  • Going Beyond the Limit

    Tammy Brooks arrived by helicopter at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at least 24 hours – maybe even several days – after suffering an acute ischemic stroke.

  • WATE-TV: East Tennessee man survives one of the deadliest types of stroke

    A local man survived the type of stroke that normally kills 80 percent of its victims. He’s doing so well, he just moved to Europe and is enjoying life to its fullest. It’s been three and a half years since Ken Harrawood suffered a stroke. It hit while he was driving to Y-12 for his first day of work with Bechtel. He now lives in Manchester, England.

  • WATE-TV: Technician who works with stroke patients becomes one himself

    Adam Hill gets the tools in place for the next life-saving surgery in the interventional radiology lab at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. As lead tech, Hill knows this place like the back of his hand. He never dreamed he’d be a patient receiving treatment here, suffering from a ruptured aneurysm, like so many patients he’s helped treat.

  • Fast Action Makes a Difference for Stroke Patient

    Since recovering from a stroke, Paul DeWitt appreciates simple pleasures that are easily taken for granted. He grasps a cup of coffee. He smiles and laughs. He even appreciates the ability to whistle.

  • Doctors Use Tiny Vacuum To Help Stroke Patients

    Jane Coleman heard her husband make an odd noise, “almost like hiccups but not exactly,” but when she turned to look at him, she knew immediately what was happening: He was having a stroke.