KARACHI: The first Gamma Knife facility in Sindh, which was recently inaugurated at the Dow University Hospital in Karachi by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, is now fully operational and ready to repair lesions in the human brain at no cost to needy patients.
“Gamma knife surgery is a procedure that utilises radiation and computer-guided planning to treat brain tumours, vascular malformations, and other abnormalities in the brain,” said Dr Muhammad Abid Saleem, head of the Gamma Knife surgery department, on Thursday.
The Gamma Knife, he added, was beneficial for patients who had acquired a brain tumour that could not be treated with standard surgery procedures or who were unable to undergo surgery owing to serious sickness or advanced age.
“The technique does not require any incisions; rather, it is a process that provides extremely concentrated radiation beams,” Dr Saleem explained.
He went on to say that the surgery helped with brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, arteriovenous malformations, tremors, brain metastases, craniopharyngiomas, gliomas, meningiomas, pineal tumours, pituitary tumours, skull base tumours, trigeminal neuralgia, vascular malformations, and glomus jugulars, among other things.
“A box-shaped head frame is positioned on the head which is made of aluminium and weighs less than one pound,” he remarked.
He further added that in some cases, frameless Gamma Knife systems were being used as thermoplastic mask to be placed over the face and then secured to an existing frame on the Gamma Knife table.
Dr Amjad Shahani, a doctor at the same facility further added that Gamma Knife was a highly effective treatment with minimal or no associated adverse effects, because of its ability to stabilize or reduce the size of a tumour or lesion. Often only one treatment is required; however, occasionally Gamma Knife could be repeated safely and successfully, he added.
He further said that there were many benefits of Gamma Knife surgery over traditional surgery such as incisions or general anesthesia was not required.
He pointed out that it could target tumours/lesions deep in the brain that otherwise could not be safely reached by traditional surgery. It could also target multiple tumours/lesions at the same time avoiding other risks and complications of surgery (such as bleeding and infection from incisions), limiting the damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Moreover, he said that usually performed as an outpatient procedure (rarely requires an overnight stay), it allows patients to return to usual activities in a day or two without physical therapy or other rehabilitation.
The doctor has further requested the philanthropists in society to come forward to help deserving persons and also appealed to Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal to support the facility as well, so that marginalized people could benefit from the state of the art facility.