NHS - Gamma Knife

Welcome to the National Centre for Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Sheffield, the birthplace of Gamma Knife Treatment in the UK, operating since 1985

Our Gamma Knife service:

  • One of two NHS England National Centres of Excellence who provide specialist care and support for patients including those with rare and complex conditions.

  • Unmatched experience across all teams (in excess of 300 years’ combined service).

  • Offers treatment of the widest range of pathologies.

  • Quality assures treatment processes to BSI standard. 
  • Has developed the skills and equipment which facilitate the treatment of complex cases

Stereotactic Radiosurgey is a very accurate and specialised treatment which we deliver using a Gamma Knife. The Gamma Knife is not a knife in the conventional sense, but uses a focused array of intersecting beams of gamma radiation to treat lesions within the brain. The technique was invented by a Swedish neurosurgeon, Professor Lars Leksell and provides an alternative method of treatment for a number of conditions, for which open neurosurgery may be either not practicable or carry a high risk of complications.

Within the central body of the Gamma Knife there is an array of 192 separate cobalt sources each of which


produces a fine beam of gamma radiation. 

The sources are evenly distributed over the surface of the hemispherical source core with the beams directed towards a common focal spot at the centre. (see What Is a Gamma Knife in the Treatment section)

The resultant intensity of radiation at the focus is extremely high whilst only a short distance from the focus it is very low. This enables a high dose of radiation to be delivered to the abnormal tissues whilst sparing the adjacent healthy brain tissue.