NYP/WCM Doubles Its Advanced Radiosurgery Options

Arrival of state-of-the-art Gamma Knife Icon heralds new era in brain care

In a major step forward for stereotactic radiosurgery in New York, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will  debut a state-of-the-art Gamma Knife® Icon™ that was recently delivered to the upper east side campus. When the Gamma Knife goes online later this fall, it will allow the neurosurgery and radiation oncology teams at Weill Cornell Medicine to offer the latest, most precise technology available to patients with brain tumors and other lesions in the shortest amount of time.

A towering rig lifted the 20-ton Gamma Knife off a flatbed truck and maneuvered it into position.

A towering rig lifted the 20-ton Gamma Knife off a flatbed truck and maneuvered it into position.

The Gamma Knife Icon will be the latest addition to what is already one of the most robust stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) programs in the Northeast – NewYork-Presbyterian provides spine-specific radiosurgery with the ViewRay®system at its world-class David H. Koch Center on York Avenue as well as radiosurgery for certain brain lesions with the Novalis®configuration in the Stitch Radiation Oncology Center on 70th Street. There are also Gamma Knife and Ethos installations at the Columbia campus.

“The Gamma Knife is a crown jewel for us here at Weill Cornell,” says Dr. Philip E. Stieg, Chair of Neurological Surgery and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Having this advanced new tool here will allow us to design a personal treatment plan for each patient – each SRS technology has particular benefits for different types of lesions, and access to the Gamma Knife allows us to treat patients using the absolute best machine based on their conditions.” Dr. Stieg is the Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery and Vice Provost of Business Affairs and Integration.

“For patients with metastatic brain tumors and for some primary brain tumors, the Gamma Knife remains an indispensable tool,” says Dr. Silvia Formenti, Chair of Radiation Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Adding the Gamma Knife Icon to our suite of world-class approaches allows us to further integrate neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, and radiation oncology to provide the most precise and individualized treatment for each patient. The new Gamma Knife  also enables optimal integration with our ongoing trial of radiation and immunotherapy for brain metastasis.” Dr. Formenti is Professor and chair of Radiation Oncology, professor of Medicine and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Professor of Cancer Research. She is also associate director for translational research of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine.

“For small lesions, especially those under three centimeters, the Gamma Knife is unparalleled in its ability to achieve excellent results,” says Dr. Michael L.J. Apuzzo, one of the pioneers of stereotactic neurosurgery and now on the faculty of Weill Cornell Medicine Neurosurgery as a mentor and advisor.

An access hatch, unused for nearly 30 years, was opened to allow the machine to be (gently) lowered into the subbasement. It was then maneuvered to its final destination in the Stitch Radiation Oncology Center.

An access hatch, unused for nearly 30 years, was opened to allow the machine to be (gently) lowered into the subbasement. It was then maneuvered to its final destination in the Stitch Radiation Oncology Center.


“We are looking forward to adding this great technology to our already strong brain and spine radiosurgery program,” comments Dr. Susan C. Pannullo, director of neurosurgical radiosurgery for NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Pannullo is one of the few neurosurgeons in the country with a surgical practice focused solely on stereotactic radiosurgery

The latest Gamma Knife technology allows non-invasive, frameless radiation treatment of brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and other brain lesions. Earlier models required a metal frame to hold the patient’s head motionless during treatment, but the Icon allows that treatment using only a simple mesh mask. The Icon also enables neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to target multiple areas of the brain simultaneously. For patients with small, difficult-to-reach lesions, the Gamma Knife Icon is particularly well suited for fast, accurate, and painless treatment, typically without an overnight stay and virtually no recovery time.

The Gamma Knife was delivered to the campus in late September and is expected to be available for treatment in December.

See a slide show of our team of experts "unboxing" the Gamma Knife.

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787