Leksell Gamma Knife® Icon Radiosurgery

What diseases can be treated with Gamma Knife?

Icon Gamma Knife treats many types of tumors found in the head. This includes tumors that came from somewhere else (metastatic from lung, breast, ovary, kidney or skin cancers including renal cell cancer and melanoma) that don't respond well to regular radiation treatments. Icon can treat many more tumors than previously possible, saving the patient from receiving whole brain radiation, a last resort. People that have already had whole brain radiation sometimes get regrowth or new brain tumors six months or a year later, and can NOT safely have more whole brain radiation. Often, these people can still have a focused Gamma Knife treatment that puts a high radiation dose into the tumor, but only a very small amount into the surrounding brain, giving them a new chance for longer survival.

Gamma Knife is very effective in stopping further growth and even shrinking slow-growing tumors deep in the head called meningioma, pituitary adenoma, and vestibular schwannoma (also known as acoustic neuroma). People that had open operations for these slow-growing tumors sometimes find several years later the tumor is coming back and getting bigger. Tumors that are growing back are often straight forward to treat with Icon Gamma Knife, without having to go through another open skull operation.

Icon treats more than cancer. A special type of face pain characterized by electric stabbing pain—called trigeminal neuralgia—is sometimes resistant to medications, or the medications cause serious side effects. Gamma Knife treatments can give relief to many people, with up to half completely pain free, with only a small risk of numbness.

Usually hand tremor from Parkinson's disease or a condition called essential tremor can be treated with medications or deep brain stimulation with implanted electrodes. In certain patients, Gamma Knife can be used to make a permanent lesion in part the brain to help control the tremor in one hand.

Certain blood vessel abnormalities inside the skull and brain can be treated with Gamma Knife. Sometimes it requires multiple treatments, including open neurosurgery and intravascular injections of coils and glue. Arteriovenous malformation (also called AVM) and dural arteriovenous fistula (or dural AV fistula) are two conditions that have been successfully treated with radiosurgery, sometimes with no other treatment, and sometimes as part of multiple approaches.

The above conditions, from tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, tremor, to vascular malformations, are all standard accepted and proven treatments with the Gamma Knife and are covered procedures paid for by government and private insurance like any other open neurosurgical operation.


Penn State Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
500 University Drive, South Annex
Hershey, PA 17033

To schedule a visit, please call 717-531-8807, option 4, or Toll-Free 800-243-1455.

How is the procedure billed?

The Gamma Knife coordinator will obtain preauthorization for procedures. For more information on Patient Financial Services, please click here. For information about insurances that we accept, please click here.

How do I schedule my procedure?

After meeting with the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist, the Gamma Knife coordinator will contact you to schedule your procedure. A tour of the facility will be provided at one of your appointments with the physicians. Neuropsychological testing may be required in some instances; this will be discussed with you at your appointment.

Where do I go on the day of my procedure?

Park in the south parking garage, and exit the garage to the South Annex (the door will be on your left immediately after exiting the elevator). Check in at the front desk at 6:00 a.m. unless otherwise scheduled by the Gamma Knife coordinator. Remember, you should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, except for your medications. The only medications that should not be taken will be indicated by the Gamma Knife coordinator prior to your procedure. Also, please wear comfortable clothing with no  metal (i.e. no belts, jewelry other than wedding rings, metal objects in your pockets,  change or credit cards). Rings, underwire bras, blue jeans, and grommets in shoes/sneakers are allowed.

What should I bring to the procedure?

You may bring music to listen to during your treatment. We can accommodate iPods or CDs. As there is limited room, only one to two family members can be with you at a time prior to your treatment. Please keep all valuables at home.

Can I drive after the procedure?

No, you will need a driver to come with you to take you home after your treatment. As you pull into the south parking garage, there are reserved parking spaces on the left hand side for gamma knife patients directly across from the elevator. Please use these for the day; however we request that you use only one space per patient. If you have other family coming for your treatment, they may park anywhere else in the garage.