Sacred Heart Hospital is adding a new high-tech tool for non-invasive brain surgery, the Gamma Knife Perfexion. It uses finely-focused beams of radiation to target abnormalities in the brain without open surgery. 

The advanced technology is used treat malignant and benign tumors, vascular malformations and some functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia. 

There are now more than 275 institutions worldwide offering non-invasive brain surgery with a Gamma Knife. However, Sacred Heart Hospital will become the first hospital along the Gulf Coast to provide this service.

The Gamma Knife is not a knife at all, and no incisions are made. The Gamma Knife uses beams of gamma radiation to precisely target and destroy cancerous tumors or other brain lesions.

Dr. Michael Goodman, the center’s director and chief of neurosurgery at Sacred Heart Hospital, has treated more than 3,000 patients with a Gamma Knife. He completed his neurosurgical residency in 1987 at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellowship in stereotactic surgery and radiosurgery in 1988 at the first Gamma Knife Center in the United States, also at the University of Pittsburgh.  While an attending neurosurgeon at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta in 1989, he started the fourth Gamma Knife center in the United States. Dr. Goodman is credentialed by the MD Anderson Cancer Network.

The alternative to treatment with the Gamma Knife is traditional brain surgery, which involves certain risks and complications. Patients benefit from Gamma Knife’s non-invasive nature and documented clinical results. The patient often leaves the hospital the same day and returns to daily life.

The Gamma Knife Perfexion treats many different problems such as:

• Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) — An abnormal connection between arteries and veins.

• Benign tumors — Acoustic tumors, Chordoma, Meningioma, Pineal tumors, Hemangioblastoma.

• Malignant tumors — Metastatic tumors (all types), Gliamas, Ocular melanomas, Glomus tumors, Ependymomas.

• Functional disorders — Trigeminal neuralgia, intractable pain and tremor.

Installation of the Gamma Knife unit at Sacred Heart Hospital began Feb 4. The first case will be performed in mid-March. For more information about Sacred Heart’s Gamma Knife Center, call 850-416-4980 or visit