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Surgical technology

Winnipeg centre to acquire new gamma knife

WINNIPEG – The government of Manitoba is investing more than $3.1 million to install a new gamma knife at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) in Winnipeg. There are only four other sites in North America and two in Europe with a Perfexion gamma knife. The new system will be operational within weeks of its installation the spring of 2008.

“When the new Perfexion gamma knife is installed, the Health Sciences Centre will be one of just a few hospitals in the world to have the latest in stereotactic radiosurgery technology,” said Premier Gary Doer. “The purchase of this leading-edge technology reinforces the HSC’s and Winnipeg’s national and international reputations as centres of excellence for neurosciences.”

The Perfexion will replace the HSC’s existing gamma knife, which has been used to treat more than 800 people since it was purchased four years ago.

Dr. Brian Postl, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said the new gamma knife, when partnered with other leading-edge medical technology, will put Winnipeg at the forefront of non-invasive neurosurgery.

“The quality of these technologies is matched only by the team of professionals – clinical and academic – that HSC and the region have been able to attract because of our commitment to this program,” said Postl.

Dr. Michael West (pictured above), co-director of the Winnipeg Centre for Gamma Knife Surgery, said the bottom line is the new technology will translate into better patient care.

“The new gamma knife’s scope and scale will enable us to treat an even broader range of patients. In addition to tumours in the head, we will – for the first time – be able to treat lesions of the skull base and cervical spine, previously not reachable with the gamma knife,” West said.

“As well, it will reduce the time to plan and execute the treatment, and provides superior control in matching the radiation dose to the exact size and location of the tumour. This is a huge step forward for our patients.”

Since 1999, Manitoba has invested more than $1.1 billion in health capital projects and diagnostic equipment to bring Manitobans better care sooner and closer to home including:

• investing more than $135 million for the redevelopment of the Health Sciences Centre, the largest redevelopment of a health facility in Manitoba’s history;

• investing more than $58 million to redevelop the Brandon Regional Health Centre;

• investing $23 million to redevelop the Selkirk Mental Health Centre;

• investing $5.2 million in a new renal health and treatment unit at Garden Hill First Nation, the first unit to be located outside a Manitoba hospital and the first in a remote community;

• developing a new regional acute-rehabilitation program to help people recover after joint replacement surgeries at the Riverdale Health Centre in Rivers; and

• investing in diagnostic equipment including:

• a $1.5-million CT scanner at the Health Sciences Centre;

• a $1.6-million CT scanner and computerized radiography unit at Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach;

• a $3.5-million magnetic resonance imager (MRI) for the Pan Am Clinic in Winnipeg;

• a $7-million capital and operating investment for an MRI for Brandon Regional Health Centre, the first MRI to be located outside of Winnipeg;

• a $3-million MRI for Boundary Trails Health Centre in the Regional Health Authority – Central; and

• more than $7.5 million to purchase and install the Artiste, a leading-edge, non-invasive surgery technology to be located in the Siemens Institute for Advanced Medicine building, currently under construction at the Health Sciences Centre.