Anchorage: (907) 276-2400
Mat-Su Valley: (907) 745-2900
Gamma Knife: (907) 276-5555

Gamma Knife

About Gamma Knife Radiation Treatment

gamma knifeAKGK logo

Gamma Knife treatments in Alaska are exclusively available at Alaska Gamma Knife Center, located at Anchorage Radiation Therapy Center. It is considered the "Gold Standard" of treatment, worldwide.

Our newest upgrade, the Leksell Gamma Knife® Icon™ is the most precise radiosurgery device on the market, limiting radiation dose to healthy tissue. Icon is the only technology with microradiosurgery capabilities, allowing for the treatment of virtually any target in the brain with ultrahigh precision. It also makes it possible to treat patients without a minimally invasive fixation while assuring the same highest level of precision.

Overseen by Dr. Stephen Settle and in conjunction with a Neurosurgeon, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery makes it possible for patients to undergo a non-invasive form of brain surgery without trauma, surgical risks, a long hospital stay or subsequent rehabilitation.

Gamma Knife is often the only treatment option for inoperable lesions and for patients who were formerly considered untreatable or at very high risk for open skull surgery.

The term "Gamma Knife" can be misleading. The treatment does not use knives or make incisions of any kind. Instead, the state-of-the-art technology focuses 192 beams of gamma radiation on your brain tumor or abnormality. The treatment location receives an effective dose of radiation, but the beams pass harmlessly through the nearby healthy tissue.

Because there are no incisions, Gamma Knife treatments are safer than traditional brain surgery. There is less risk of infections, complications or side effects. Treatments are often performed in a single outpatient visit with just local anaesthesia and you'll likely be able to resume your normal activities within a few days. The side effects, if any, are minimal and because Gamma Knife treatment is so effective, it is recognized and covered by the majority of insurance plans.

One of the key components of Leksell Gamma Knife - the tool that allows your doctor to precisely pinpoint your tumor or problem - is the special stereotactic head frame. This lightweight frame, which is attached to your head with four small screws (this is considered a minimally invasive fixation), ensures that the radiation beams are precisely targeted. The frame also prevents your head from moving during the treatment procedure, which ensures that only the target area in your brain receives radiation. You will not have your head shaved, you will receive a local anesthesia in the four pin sites where the frame is secured, you may feel some pressure right after the frame is attached, however that will subside. Many patients find they fall asleep during treatment.

And now, with the Gamma Knife Icon, we can use a mask, versus headframe, adding comfort to the patients while expanding our capabilities and allowing us to be able to perform fractionated radiosurgery. Fractionated radiosurgery delivers the radiation in multiple (or fractionated) doses over time, instead of in one large dose. Normal brain tissue and nerves in the head can tolerate many smaller doses of radiation better than one large dose. Thus, fractionated radiosurgery can safely deliver a higher dose of radiation than single dose radiosurgery.

Accuracy is the single most important aspect of stereotactic radiosurgery

Gamma Knife radiosurgery sets the bar for accuracy, with guaranteed precision that enhances physician confidence and ensures patient safety.

This superior level of accuracy is due to three factors:

  1. Gamma Knife was designed specifically to provide the very best radiosurgical treatment of brain tumors
  2. The radiation source never moves
  3. Your head is stationary! When treating a target as delicate as the brain, neurosurgeons try to avoid any movement that might reduce accuracy

As the only Gamma Knife Center in Alaska, we've helped people with conditions such as:

  • Malignant tumors such as metastatic cancers and some primary brain cancers
  • Benign tumors of the pituitary gland or cranial nerves (such as vestibular schwannomas- a benign nerve sheath tumor in the ear)
  • Vascular malformations including arteriovenous malformations (AVMs or an abnormal connection between arteries and veins)
  • Functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia (a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve).

Want more in-depth information. Want a tour? Please contact us and we'll be happy to get something arranged. You may also review Elekta Gamma Knife website here:


Anchorage & Valley Radiation Therapy Centers

Phone: 907.276.2400
Toll-Free: 877.276.4655
Fax: 907.276.4888
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am–5:30pm
[Map & Directions]

Phone: 907.745.2900
Toll-Free: 877.276.4655
Fax: 907.745.2999
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am–5:00pm
[Map & Directions]