Northwell Health Introduces Gamma Knife Icon to Cancer Institute


Northwell Health will cause fewer headaches while treating brain tumors now that Long Island’s largest hospital system installed the latest stereotactic radiosurgery system.

The nonprofit hospital’s Cancer Institute’s Center for Advanced Medicine uses the Gamma Knife (GK) Icon to precisely targets brain tumors and other brain conditions while sparing healthy tissue, making it the first and only facility on LI to offer the advanced treatment.

“The GK Icon system focuses powerful doses of concentrated radiation that attack tumors and other abnormalities, shrinking them over time or stopping their growth altogether,” says Dr. Michael Schulder, vice chairman of neurosurgery at Northwell Health, director of the Brain Tumor Center of the Neuroscience Institute, and co-director of the Northwell Center for Stereotactic Radiosurgery. “This technology offers the precision of surgery without a scalpel and without the usual risks of surgery or an incision.”

GK Icon makes cranial stereotactic radiosurgery available conditions such as meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, metastatic tumors, arteriovenous malformations, pituitary tumors, trigeminal neuralgia and more. It integrates 3D imaging and software, allowing for continuous monitoring during treatment. This provides doctors with real-time information and control. In addition, the advanced motion management and imaging enables frameless (mask-based) treatments for many patients, which not only improves precision but provides more comfort during the procedure.

This technology also allows for the precision of the Gamma Knife to be brought to bear on patients with large and complex tumors, which has not been possible with older versions of the GK. And for the first time, it is now possible to perform GK treatment in one day without placing a stereotactic headframe on a patient, Dr. Schulder adds.

The Gamma Knife Icon was purchased with a donation from Irwin Davis, a Bayside, Queens, resident who died in 2007 and donated his estate to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset for brain tumor research.

The GK Perfexion, the previous version GK technology, was installed in the Department of Radiation Medicine at the CFAM in 2014, adding to a longstanding program in stereotactic radiosurgery at Northwell Health. The GK Icon replaces the Perfexion and is a major technological upgrade.

“With the new gamma knife technology, the shape and dose of the radiation is optimized to focus on the exact point desired with little to virtually no damage to healthy brain tissue,” says Dr. Anuj Goenka, co-director of Northwell’s brain tumor program, co-director of the Northwell Center for Stereotactic Radiosurgery.