Gamma Knife

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

Gamma Knife, also known as Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS), is a form of radiosurgery historically employing 201 cobalt-60 sources arranged in a hemispheric array. The latest system, the Gamma Knife Perfexion, uses 192 cobalt-60 sources 1. The emitted gamma rays are focussed on a target point which is used to treat brain lesions. It employs a standard stereotactic frame to ensure accurate targeting of the emitted beams to a precise location. Gamma Knife systems are solely manufactured by Elekta AB, a Swedish company, that specializes in radiation therapy systems. 

History and etymology

Gamma knife was invented by Lars Leksell, a pioneering Swedish neurosurgeon, in collaboration with a radiation biologist, Borje Larsson, and their first system was available in 1951. Lars Leksell and his son, Laurent Leksell, founded Elekta in 1972 to manufacture Gamma Knife systems 2.

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