PA) — A team of engineers, architects, and other experts converged
on 8th and Spruce Streets the morning of September 14th, to oversee
the all-day installation of the latest generation Gamma Knife®
at the new Penn Gamma Knife Center at Pennsylvania Hospital.
The Gamma Knife® isn’t really a knife at all, but radiosurgery
– a noninvasive neurosurgical procedure that uses powerful
doses of radiation to target and treat diseased brain tissue while
leaving surrounding tissue intact. It has become the preferred treatment
for brain tumors (malignant and benign), vascular malformations
of the brain, and functional disorders such a trigeminal neuralgia
The Penn Gamma Knife Center, directed by John Y. K. Lee,
MD, will be the only facility in the Philadelphia region
to offer the latest-generation, robotic-assisted version of a gamma
knife. This state-of-the-art model is the most technologically advanced
available. Its robotic attachment automatically moves patients into
exactly the right position, which makes it extremely precise and
user-friendly. Compared to older models, it increases patient safety,
and may reduce treatment times by half.
installation of this new technology is dramatic due to the immense
size of the gamma knife and because it had to be loaded by special
machinery into the side of Pennsylvania Hospital’s Spruce
Building. The building then had to be closed up around it. It took
three months to build the 19x24 square-foot concrete-encased vault
that houses the gamma knife. Due to its tremendous weight, the vault
is supported by 14 pilings that plunge 80 feet down into solid bedrock.
An 8x10-foot section of the exterior wall had to be removed in order
to bring in the equipment. It’s the only gamma knife center
in the United States not located in a basement; but, instead, in
an attractive, patient-friendly center on the ground floor level.
“As one of the largest health care providers in the Delaware
Valley, we’re known at Penn for our clinical excellence and
state-of-the-art treatments and technology,” said
Peter LeRoux, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair of the Department of
Neurosurgery for the Health System. “Penn is particularly
renowned for treating all types of cancers and neurological disorders.
Bringing the latest version of the Gamma Knife® is just another
example of the Health System’s commitment to quality patient
Penn physicians are now seeing patients for Gamma Knife and will
treat them in the new Gamma Knife Center starting in mid-October
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation
for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top
research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty
and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide
for its superior education and training of the next generation of
physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes: its
flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll”
hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital,
the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.