OBJECTIVE: Gamma knife radiosurgery requires frame positioning so that the treatment target is as close to the center of the frame and as low as possible to cover all of the posterior fossa contents. In this study, we report the use of two devices developed by the senior author (MWM) that facilitate these two crucial objectives in the treatment of intracranial targets using the gamma knife.
METHODS: Custom front posts with threaded screw holes drilled at 5-, 10-, and 15-degree angles were created by the manufacturer at our request. A U-shaped metal device for frame positioning was designed in-house and fits into the holes at the 100-mm mark on the lateral sides of the Leksell stereotactic frame base. This allowed the positioning device to snap securely into the frame for use in positioning. The positioning device was constructed so that the lowest possible frame position would be achieved with each frame application, while avoiding collisions with the magnetic resonance imaging localizer box.
RESULTS: Angled front posts allowed for pin contacts with the cranium anterior and/or superior to the superior temporal line despite a lateral or posterior position of the frame. This avoided penetration of the temporalis muscle and reduced discomfort for patients. The U-shaped metal device was used in place of the Velcro straps or ear bars routinely used for frame positioning in which the distance from the frame base to the top of the head must always be measured to avoid collisions with the localizer box. During the past 2 years, these devices have been used on a daily basis, achieving the desired results. In many cases, their use has avoided the need for frame repositioning and rescanning for targets that cannot be reached because of inexact frame positioning.
CONCLUSION: A new design with angled screw holes in the front posts used for gamma knife radiosurgery allows surgeons to avoid penetration of the temporalis muscle and to maintain a perpendicular orientation of the fixation screw to the outer table of the cranium. They may also prevent mechanical creep caused by the obliquity of pin contact with the cranium and resulting loss of torque. We also present a simple device that may be useful in frame positioning. The device ensures a frame position as low as possible without the need for measurement at the time of frame positioning.