22 June 2022

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals first in the world to order cutting edge Gamma Knife technology

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has become the first centre in the world to order the latest version of a cutting-edge machine for treating brain tumours and other brain conditions.

The latest model of the Gamma Knife, called the Esprit, is due to be installed later this year at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. The hospital is home to the National Centre for Stereotactic Radiosurgery which was the first and is the largest centre for gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery in the UK.

Gamma Knife technology uses a focused array of intersecting beams of carefully measured gamma radiation to target lesions in the brain with sub-millimetre precision, meaning that there is less risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue and thus fewer side effects for patients. Unlike open surgery, patients are usually treated as a day case, and the treatment is less invasive.

The latest version of the technology offers the flexibility of traditional frame-based treatments as well as mask-based treatments. Patients undergoing Gamma Knife treatment need to wear a special frame or mask to enable the tumour to be targeted precisely. The new machine will enable more patients to treated with the latest technology.

Julian Cahill, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Clinical Lead for the National Centre for Stereotactic Radiosurgery said: “Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is a world leader in pioneering Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, and we are proud to continue delivering world-class treatments transforming the lives of our patients now and into the future.”

Paula Hunter, of Rotherham, underwent Gamma Knife treatment after being diagnosed with a meningioma (a type of brain tumour). Due to the location of the tumour, traditional surgery to remove it was too risky and so the aim of the Gamma Knife treatment was to prevent it getting any larger.

Paula praised the care that she received from the team.

She said: “The Gamma Knife was my only option, and so it has saved my life. I was diagnosed during the Covid lockdown, which was scary, but you would not have known it. The care could not have been better, I was looked after from the moment I walked into the unit and the pre-care, and the aftercare have helped me get through to where I am now.

“I felt very safe and informed. It was a very personal service in what was a massive situation that could have been overwhelming. The team were fabulous.

“At my follow up scan the tumour had not grown, which was the best outcome. I am still here, that is the be all and end all. I have a husband and two children that I want to live for and a lot of happy times to come, and that was what I was thinking about when I was lying in the machine.

“The treatment is life changing, lifesaving and it gives people hope. I was so fortunate to have it close by and to be able to be seen quickly.”

As well as patients from the Sheffield area, patients travel nationally and internationally for treatment at the centre.



1) The Esprit Gamma Knife
2) Paula Hunter

3)  The Stereotactic Radiosurgery team

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