Steriotactic Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

For many who have been given the unfortunate diagnosis of a metastatic brain tumor their first concern is always the course of treatment. Traditionally, large doses of radiation were administered to the entire brain in an effort to destroy any cancerous cells. Although this treatment is effective at killing cancer cells, many patients suffered from what is known as “radiation toxicity”. This toxicity can result in permanent cognitive impairment as well as a reduction in IQ. This resulted from physicians not being able to focus the radiation to only the afflicted areas. For others who opted to have their tumor surgically excised, they faced the risks of open surgery as well as the postoperative healing process that typically involved several days of inpatient hospitalization and up to several weeks at home recovering.

Recently, a new FDA Approved technology known as Gamma Knife Surgery (also known as Radio Surgery) has emerged. Despite its name, the procedure requires no surgery at all. The procedure uses up to 200 focused beams of radiation to treat only the malignant area thus sparing the non-cancerous areas of the brain. Physicians are now able to utilize this procedure using pinpoint accuracy as a result of 3D MRI brain imaging. Also, unlike most cancer treatments, this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and is often effective in only one treatment. Furthermore, patients are not asked to restrict their daily routine after treatment.

Dr. Kevin Yao, of Metropolitan Neurosurgical Group in Englewood, NJ, has been at the forefront of this technology since its inception. Dr. Yao served as the Co-Director of The Boston Gamma Knife Center at Tufts University in Boston. He has also published several papers, participated in trials and lectured nationally in regard to Gamma Knife Surgery.

Currently, Gamma Knife Surgery is being marketed very aggressively in both New York City and major hospitals around the country. However, many physicians utilizing this technology fall far short of Dr. Yao’s credentials and experience. Dr. Yao has now brought his extensive experience and expertise to New Jersey where he is giving new hope to those who have been diagnosed with brain tumors, including those considered surgically inoperable.

Dr. Yao has also applied this innovative procedure into treating those with a chronic pain disorder known as Trigeminal Neuralgia (link to Trigeminal Neuralgia). Traditionally, patients suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia were treated with high dose medications or underwent open brain procedures in attempt to control this condition. Dr. Yao pioneered the use of non-surgical Gamma Knife procedures to treat Trigeminal Neuralgia and has had incredible results. He is one of the only known physicians implementing this form of treatment and is regarded as thought leader in Trigeminal Neuralgia treatment.

Dr. Yao is a board certified Neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of brain and spine tumors. He obtained his medical training in New York at Columbia University (M.D.) and at Mount Sinai Medical Center (Neurosurgical Residency). Dr. Yao then completed a fellowship in complex brain and spine tumor surgery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He then joined the Neurosurgical faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, where Dr. Yao served as Co-Director of the Brain Tumor Center, Director of Spinal Oncology, and Director of Stereotactic Radiosurgery at Tufts Medical Center. Now, Dr. Yao serves as part of the team at Metropolitan Neurosurgery Associates.

Dr. Yao also holds the position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he continues to be actively involved in teaching and research. Dr. Yao strives to maximize each patient’s quality of life by restoring and preserving neurological function. Dr. Yao has also published numerous book chapters, abstracts and articles and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

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