A Davenport hospital will soon become the first in the state to use space-age technology to zap brain tumors. Genesis Medical Center/West has installed a “gamma knife” which uses narrow beams of cobalt gamma radiation to focus on a precise target inside the skull. Officials say the device isn’t a knife at all, but works something like an x-ray.Judy McFarlin is director of the hospital’s Cancer Center. She says the neuro-surgical tool has several advantages as it requires no lengthy hospital stay. Patients don’t lose their hair and don’t have to be shaved, as with other brain surgeries. Also, she says no general anesthetic is needed.McFarlin says the non-invasive gamma knife procedure can last from 15 minutes to two hours, but not usually any longer. It can destroy tumors up to three centimeters across and unlike chemotherapy, only a single treatment is needed to destroy a tumor.The device cost three-point-four MILLION dollars and is among 55 in the U-S and 133 in the world. Doctors are still learning exactly how to use it and the first patient is scheduled to go beneath the dome May 9th.
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