Progress in Medical Physics
Stereotactic radiosurgery is one of the most sophisticated forms of modern advanced radiation therapy. Unlike conventional fractionated radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery uses a high dose of radiation with steep gradient precisely delivered to target lesions. Lars Leksell presented the principle of radiosurgery in 1951. Gamma Knife ® (GK) is the first radiosurgery device used in clinics, and the first patient was treated in the winter of 1967. The first GK unit had 179 cobalt 60 sources
... obalt 60 sources distributed on a hemispherical surface. A patient could move only in a single direction. Treatment planning was performed manually and took more than a day. The latest model, Gamma Knife ® Icon TM , shares the same principle but has many new dazzling characteristics. In this article, first, a brief history of radiosurgery was described. Then, the physical properties of modern radiosurgery machines and physicists' endeavors to assure the quality of radiosurgery were described. Intrinsic characteristics of modern radiosurgery devices such as small fields, steep dose distribution producing sharp penumbra, and multi-directionality of the beam were reviewed together with the techniques to assess the accuracy of these devices. The reference conditions and principles of GK dosimetry given in the most recent international standard protocol, International Atomic Energy Agency TRS 483, were shortly reviewed, and several points needing careful revisions were highlighted. Understanding the principles and physics of radiosurgery will be helpful for modern medical physicists.