Private and NHS patients at the Wellington Hospital in north London can now undergo an updated form of brain and skull radiation therapy without the need for an overnight stay.

In partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust, the Gamma Knife Icon is available at the London Gamma Knife centre which opened today (10th September) at the hospital as part of a £20m investment by owner HCA Healthcare UK.

The technology, which cost £5m alongside the centre, treats malignant and benign brain tumours, vascular disorders and neurological disorders like Trigeminal neuralgia (severe facial pain), Parkinson’s tremor, OCD and epilepsy.

Like the Gamma Knife Perfexion, the Icon’s predecessor, the system can deliver single large radiation doses, reducing the number of treatment sessions a patient undergoes.

However, the latest 0.5mm ‘minimally invasive’ instrument  can deliver fractionated radiosurgery, providing therapy in multiple smaller doses, meaning consultants can tailor treatment packages for patients to help reduce the side effects of treatment.

Patient recovery time is shorter than previous versions of the technology – between 23 and 72 hours – and the risk to other parts of the body from radiation exposure is lower, HCA has said.

A more comfortable custom face mask can also be worn during treatment, rather than the traditional headframe used in previously systems.

Ian Sabin, consultant neurosurgeon, skull base surgeon and medical director of the London Gamma Knife centre, said: ‘The launch of the Knife in the 1980s meant many patients no longer had to undergo conventional brain surgery which can be traumatic to the body and incur lengthy recovery times.

‘This new technology means we can offer patients the most accurate and precise radiosurgery completely tailored to them and their condition. Treatment times will be quicker, which means I will be able to treat more people within a day, and patients will be able to go back to their daily activities almost immediately after.’