The History of the Gamma Knife

The History of the Gamma Knife

1st Edition - October 30, 2014

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  • Author: Jeremy Ganz
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444635204
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444635266

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The History of the Gamma Knife presents the evolution of concepts and technology which ended in the production of the modern Gamma Knife. The story starts before the Second World War and links pioneers in Berkeley and Sweden. To the best of the author’s belief it is the first detailed, factually accurate account of the development of this important therapeutic method.

Key Features

  • The author has been involved in Gamma Knife surgery since the early days and has written 3 books and many papers on the topic
  • The author is fluent in Scandinavian languages and knows the original pioneers in the field and has consulted with them to ensure the story is accurate
  • The book is written in an informal easy to read style
  • The book fills a vacuum in the literature. There are many short accounts of a few pages but no hopefully definitive account of the story of the Gamma Knife. Also these short accounts all too often contain errors which hopefully are absent from the current text


Neurosurgeons, Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists, Investors and Administrators. The volume will serve as an outstanding reference for both those just entering the field and experts seeking an update on this fast moving area

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Background knowledge in the early days

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Clinical Neurology
    • 3 Investigations
    • 4 Operating Theater Limitations
    • 5 Introduction of Specialized Clinical Neurosciences Departments
    • 6 Conclusion

    Chapter 2: Some physics from 550 BC to AD 1948

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Before Accelerators
    • 3 The Need for New Instruments
    • 4 A Digression
    • 5 Units

    Chapter 3: Medical physics - particle accelerators - the beginning

    • Abstract
    • 1 The Age of Particle Accelerators
    • 2 The Advent of the Cyclotron
    • 3 Ernest Orlando Lawrence (1901–1958): An Outline
    • 4 John Hundale Lawrence (1903–1991): An Outline
    • 5 Artificial Radiation
    • 6 First Cyclotron-related Patient Treatment
    • 7 Principles of Early Medical Applications of the Cyclotron: Neutrons
    • 8 Principles of Early Medical Applications of the Cyclotron: Protons

    Chapter 4: From particle accelerator to radiosurgery

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Required Physical Characteristics
    • 3 Indications
    • 4 Design Characteristics of a Particle Beam for Radiosurgery
    • 5 Practical Early Medical Applications of the Cyclotron: Physical and Animal Experiments
    • 6 Practical Early Medical Applications of the Cyclotron: Crossover Technique

    Chapter 5: Stereotactic and radiosurgery concepts in sweden

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Lars Leksell
    • 3 Three-Dimensional Reference System Common to Imaging, Treatment Planning, and Treatment
    • 4 The First Paper on Radiosurgery
    • 5 The First Radiosurgery Cases

    Chapter 6: Stereotactic and radiosurgery research in sweden

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Börje Larsson (1933–1998)
    • 3 Uppsala Research
    • 4 Summary

    Chapter 7: The journey from proton to gamma knife

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 How Could Proton Beams Be Replaced?
    • 3 Larsson and Lidén Principles
    • 4 Gamma Knife Preparation
    • 5 Sophiahemmet

    Chapter 8: The earliest gamma unit patients

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 A Little About Scandinavian Culture
    • 3 The Early Patients
    • 4 Names

    Chapter 9: Stockholm radiosurgery developing 1968–1982

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Early Limitations of Imaging and Dose Planning
    • 3 The Introduction of Computerized Imaging
    • 4 Gamma Unit Number 2
    • 5 Status with Specific Diseases

    Chapter 10: From stockholm to pittsburgh

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Need for a Gamma Knife Manufacturer
    • 3 Hernan Bunge from Buenos Aires and David Forster from Sheffield
    • 4 Elekta, Scanditronix, and Investment
    • 5 The First Gamma Knife in the United States

    Chapter 11: Changing times and early debates

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 AVMs
    • 3 Pituitary Region Tumors
    • 4 Meningiomas
    • 5 Metastases
    • 6 Vestibular Schwannomas

    Chapter 12: The development of dose planning

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Imaging Modalities
    • 3 KULA
    • 4 GammaPlan

    Chapter 13: Changing the gamma knife

    • Abstract
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Changing the Helmets
    • 3 The B Model
    • 4 Introducing the APS: The C Model
    • 5 Plugging
    • 6 Perfexion

    Chapter 14: Conclusion and possible future trends

    • Abstract
    • 1 Final Thoughts
    • 2 Quo Vadis?
    • 3 Principles
    • 4 Avoidance of Controversy
    • 5 Concluding Remarks

Product details

  • No. of pages: 152
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2014
  • Published: October 30, 2014
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444635204
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444635266

About the Author

Jeremy Ganz

Jeremy Ganz

Jeremy C. Ganz is a British neurosurgeon trained by most distinguished neurosurgeons including Valentine Logue and Lindsay Symon, who became a president of the world federation of neurosurgeons. In 1976 he emigrated to Norway and he practiced in Bergen from 1979 to 1993. During that time he helped to rationalize back surgery and introduced microsurgery for vascular and neoplastic lesions, in particular pituitary adenomas and meningiomas. In 1983 a new chief was appointed to the department, Erik-Olof Backlund and he acquired a Gamma Knife in Bergen which became the 5th site in the world to have one. Backlund put Ganz in charge of the Gamma Knife practice and for several years they collaborated in the publication of many papers on the developing field of radiosurgery. During this time Ganz wrote his first book “Gamma Knife Surgery: A Guide for Referring Physicians” one of the first books devoted to the topic. In 1989 an international Gamma Knife society was founded and from the fourth meeting in Buenos Aires in 1992 the society published its proceedings first as a supplement to Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery from 1993 to 1999 and subsequently to the Journal of Neurosurgery. Ganz was the editor of 7 of these supplements from 1993 to 2002.

In 1993 Ganz left Bergen and worked for Elekta AB, the manufacturer of the Gamma Knife as a clinical teacher visiting 76 departments in all the continents except Australia, and advising new users in how to apply this method of treatment. He was particularly involved in teaching in China and Japan, but also in India, Europe, the USA and Mexico.

In 2002 he moved to Cairo and worked there with a team of young doctors to establish a Gamma Knife Center which locally has achieved an international reputation. The center has published in top neurosurgical journals and has treated over 3000 patients, a major achievement for the region.

In 2011 he published a more comprehensive single author text called Gamma Knife Neurosurgery. This volume covers all aspects of management and discusses the various indications in depth.

He thinks that entering retirement is the right time to look back and review the past and this has been the motivation to write the current volume.

Affiliations and Expertise

Ulverston, UK

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