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Karachi gets free brain tumour surgery treatment at DUHS, Ojha

Gamma knife to treat 500 patients a year

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 1, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 weeks ago
Posted: Oct 1, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 weeks ago

The Leksell Gamma Knife Icon machine. Photo: Elekta

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the first-ever public sector Gamma Knife Facility at Dow University Hospital, Ojha Campus, Friday for the treatment of lesions in the brain and said that treatment would be free of cost.

“This is a very expensive treatment and each procedure costs Rs250,000 and around 500 procedures are adopted in a year,” he said, “therefore the provincial government would bear its entire cost and the patients’ treatment would be made totally free.”

Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, Health Secretary Dr Kazim Jatoi, Dow University Vice Chancellor Prof Saeed Qureshi were present.    

There are more than 400 such units worldwide. “We have established some remarkable facilities in the health sector such as Cyberknife at JPMC, a Liver Transplantation Institute at Gambat, the Gamma Knife at Dow University Hospital,” he said.  

Gamma Knife radiosurgery unit
The patient can go home the same day.

What is Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a very precise form of radiation therapy that focuses intense beams of gamma rays with pinpoint accuracy to treat lesions in the brain. Despite its name, Gamma Knife Surgery involves neither traditional surgery nor an actual knife. “Gamma Knife radiosurgery is called surgery because its outcome is similar to that of a surgical procedure,” the CM said.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery can be effective in treating tumors, blood vessel malformations and nerve conditions. The Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for tumor treatment works by damaging or destroying the DNA of tumor cells so that these cells cannot reproduce or grow. Over time, the brain tumor shrinks.

The CM said that Karachi’s Gamma Knife Center was home to the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, the latest Gamma Knife system. “This stationary unit delivers beams of highly focused gamma rays – it enables our neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to provide world-class care,” he said and added that Leksell Gamma Knife Icon was designed specifically for treating lesions in the brain and has the greatest precision and accuracy of any radiosurgery system to date.

What conditions does Gamma Knife surgery treat?

The Gamma Knife radiosurgery is used to treat certain conditions of the brain, many of which could only be treated by open surgery had this option not become available. At the Gamma Knife Center, expert neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists will treat the brain conditions such as primary brain tumors, in particular, Acoustic neuroma/Vestibular Schwannoma, Pituitary tumor, Craniopharyngioma, Glioma, Meningioma, Hemangioblastoma, Glomus jugulare tumor and additionally: Chordoma, Pediatric brain tumors, Arteriovenous malformation, Trigeminal neuralgia, Essential tremor, Epilepsy and Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A Gamma Knife procedure is a single-day treatment which means the patient can go home the same day. 

Dr Azra Pechuho said that another advantage of the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon is its superior ability to spare healthy brain tissue, as compared with other systems. She added that avoiding unnecessary radiation was particularly important for children, who may be more at risk than adults for late effects from radiation.

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