Neurosurgeon Lars Leksell and biophysicist Börje Larsson developed the technique called stereotactic radiosurgery in the 1950s, at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Years of research produced an instrument that enabled surgeons to precisely target brain abnormalities with 201 gamma beams. This instrument, the Leksell Gamma Knife®, proved capable of destroying tumors, vascular malformations and a limited number of functional disorder targets (e.g., trigeminal nerve).
The first Leksell Gamma Knife, installed in Stockholm in 1968, assisted in the treatment of hundreds of patients with brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations, acoustic tumors, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas and other brain tumors.
The Leksell Gamma Knife has been refined and improved with advances in engineering, radiation physics and treatment planning. More than 350,000 patients have been successfully treated, and more than 2,500 peer-reviewed articles have been published about the Gamma Knife. MedStar Washington Hospital Center is one of approximately 200 prominent institutions in the world utilizing this high-tech neurosurgical tool.