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Table of Contents    
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1513

The History of the Gamma Knife

Department of Neurosurgery, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Date of Web Publication19-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr Manjul Tripathi
Department of Neurosurgery, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.304067

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How to cite this article:
Tripathi M. The History of the Gamma Knife. Neurol India 2020;68:1513

How to cite this URL:
Tripathi M. The History of the Gamma Knife. Neurol India [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 21];68:1513. Available from:

Author : Jeremy C. Ganz

Edition : 1st edition

Publisher : Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Page : 152 (Paperback)

“A small body of determined spirit fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

In the search for less invasive techniques, neurosurgery has gone through a phenomenal journey over the last century. It evolved during the era of maximum trauma (both world wars) and gained its momentum with the development of micro-neurosurgery. Still, unsatisfied with its results and in the realm of success with alternative treatment options, Prof. Lars Leksell marched on an uncharted territory of stereotactic radiosurgery with photon beams. Martin Luther King, in his famous speech, mentioned that “Blood alone moves the wheels of history.” Probably, this is the first stance, when history moved but in the absence of blood. Though in practice for five decades, there was no dependable account of the history of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS). Jeremy C. Ganz should be congratulated for filling this void.

“The History of The Gamma Knife” is a fascinating and breviloquent tale of the development and practice of GKRS in 15 chapters. The book starts with the background knowledge of radiosurgery in the early days and the timeline of discoveries relevant to clinical neurology and its investigations. It details the value of good interpersonal relationships, industrial, and bureaucratic support in the development of iconoclastic technologies. The second chapter details the primitive history of nuclear physics, the development of terminology, and the discovery of subatomic particles relevant in the current quantum physics. Subsequent chapters detail the transformation from the particle accelerators, neutron to proton and photon therapy. Sweden was the birthplace of GKRS, where it metamorphosed from a mere concept to a standard technique. It took off its wings with more installations (North America, South America, and Sheffield, UK), and publication in the journals of international repute.

The journey from model U to ICON is not the solo journey of GKRS but the journey of medical physics, neuroradiology, neurosciences, and Lars Leksell. The book maintains its authenticity as Dan Leksell, the worthy son of Prof. Lars Leksell, has personally confirmed the details and the authenticity of the events. Dan Leksell has been a witness to this journey, its frustrations, its triumphs, and its expanding horizon from primitive machines, initial hurdles to its current ultra-sophisticated versions. Jeremy Ganz is a famed author on the GKRS. The book is penned down in an informal, easy-to-read style with personal anecdotes and communication with the original pioneers involved in this journey. This book fills a vacuum in the history of GKRS and provides an authentic referable account.

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