13 March 2018: Sunway Medical Centre officially unveils groundbreaking radiosurgery machine Sunway Medical Centre (SunMed) brings intracranial radiation treatment into a new era in Malaysia with the acquisition of a Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, which is considered by many as the gold standard in the field.
Members of the audience taking in the significance of the role the Gamma Knife Icon plays in treating intracranial diseases during the lauch
This is a cutting-edge radiosurgery machine that is designed to treat a range of brain disorders and conditions that would otherwise call for an open neurosurgery. Although the Gamma Knife has been around since 1967 after being invented by Swedish company Elekta, the Icon is the latest iteration of the design which is capable of staged or fractionated treatments. It is one of the most precise types of radiosurgeries for the treatment of cranial tumours and other neurological conditions. The machine converges 192 precise beams of gamma radiation at the treatment area, creating a measured yet potent dose of concentrated radiation, while avoiding damage to neighbouring healthy tissue. To effectively control the levels of radiation hitting the target, Adaptive DoseControl technology is employed.
Lau Beng Long, Managing Director, Sunway Group Healthcare Services, officiating the launch by unveiling a scale model of the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon
Among the neurological disorders that can be treated by Gamma Knife include brain metastases, arteriovenous malformations, facial nerve pain (trigeminal neuralgia), meningioma, acoustic neuromas, gliomas and pituitary tumours.
The Leksell Gamma Knife Icon constitutes a paradigm shift in intracranial radiosurgery in Malaysia, with superior accuracy and efficiency and relatively negligible side effects compared to other treatment methods
A nod to the quick and effective nature of this treatment, SunMed uses the comma symbol to represent a typical Gamma Knife experience, indicating that it doesn’t put a stop to one’s quality of life.
SunMed utilises the comma symbol to represent the largely unintrusive nature of the Gamma Knife procedure, both in treatment and its effect on the patients’ lives
This unprecedented leap in intracranial radiosurgery here in Malaysia reduces patient inconvenience and complications to the bare minimum. In fact, most procedures are over in less than an hour, cause practically no pain, and a majority of patients resume their daily routines within a few hours. Lau Beng Long, Managing Director, Sunway Group Healthcare Services emphasised on these plus points during the launch, saying, “The Gamma Knife Icon allows SunMed to provide a treatment that is more reliable and one that is administered with greater accuracy. This treatment method is a game changer, with very little discomfort and lesser radiation dose to the surrounding healthy tissue of the patient.”
Lau Beng Long explaining the benefits of the Icon in his speech at the launch
“As part of the vision to be one of the leading medical centres in the ASEAN region, we at SunMed want our patients to have access to leading-edge clinical practices and technologies, especially when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Even patients with serious disorders can be treated with this non-invasive procedure in one day with no overnight hospital stay,” he added. Consultant Neurosurgeon at SunMed Dr Ravi Krishnapillai meanwhile said, “The Gamma Knife technology allows doctors to precisely target areas within the brain with the aid of various imaging techniques. These provide a 3D view of the target and surrounding brain structures. Furthermore, this latest version allows surgeons to treat larger lesions without any significant complications from using a higher dose of radiation for the larger lesion. This means that anything that could not be treated in a single dose (like a larger tumour or mass) can now be staged over a few weeks.”
Dr Ravi Krishnapillai giving insight on the array of previously unfeasible treatments that now can be achieved with the Icon
His SunMed colleague, Consultant Clinical Oncologist Dr Tho Lye Mun then gave a presentation of cases that have been treated by the Icon at SunMed, showing the effectiveness of Gamma Knife with before-and-after MRI scans of patients’ tumours. The growths on these cancer victims’ brains have been either drastically reduced or removed completely thanks to the machine.
Dr Tho Lye Mun highlighting a few of the Gamma Knife Icon success cases that were treated at SunMed in his presentation
Cancer patient Jesse Teh, who underwent Gamma Knife procedures at SunMed to remove tumours in her brain, also shared her experience at the launch. “As a cancer patient, I was always afraid of cancer treatments and the side effects. This led me to seek natural treatment methods, which were not effective. Thankfully, I was introduced to Gamma Knife at SunMed and found the treatment effective, yet painless and surprisingly relaxing. I had undergone a mask-based treatment, which takes about 30 minutes each round. I was able to go home right after the treatment. Now, I am able to resume simple daily activities which I struggled with before the treatment.”
Cancer patient Jesse Teh speaking about her positive experiences after receiving Gamma Knife treatment
The launch of the Gamma Knife Icon comes after the introduction of SunMed’s Let’s ACE campaign, or in full ‘Let’s Attack Cancer Effectively’ last December. Last month, SunMed held its first Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Malaysian Neurosurgical Trainees and Neurosurgeons to help spread knowledge on this machine.