Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Course

The Department of Neurological Surgery and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Continuing Education in the Health Science present a Gamma Knife® training course, "Principles and Practice of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery," targeted at neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, nurses, fellows and residents interested in Gamma Knife radiosurgery education.

(See First Virtual Gamma Knife Training Course Held.)

Through attendance at this Gamma Knife training program, registrants should obtain knowledge about the practical aspects of stereotactic radiosurgery using the Leksell Gamma Knife. Principles of radiation physics and radiobiology, as they apply to single-session, focused, small volume irradiation will be covered. Registrants should be able to create radiosurgery dose plans for brain tumors, vascular malformations and trigeminal neuralgia. At the close of the Gamma Knife training program, participants should be able to discuss those issues relevant to dose selection in individual patients and discuss the spectrum of complications after radiosurgery and their management.

The next available course is an online course scheduled for November 8-12. (All course dates are listed below.) Please contact Kelly Powell for more information on course availability and enrollment. (See course application.)

GK Virtual Course

Participation by all individuals is encouraged. Advance notification of any special needs will help us provide better service. Please notify us of your needs at least two weeks in advance of the program by calling 412-647-7744.

This course is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences and the Department of Neurological Surgery’s Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery.

Course Faculty
Tuition and Registration
CME Credits
Future Course Dates


Day 1: Introduction to the Gamma Knife Technologies

Kick-off Meeting (Zoom): Overview of the course    (Estimated Learning Time: 60 min)
1.01 Lecture: Welcome and Introduction to the Course    (30 min)
1.02 Lecture: Fundamentals of the LGK SRS Procedure    (30 min)
1.03 Demonstration of the LGP Planning Software    (30 min)
1.04 Demonstration LGK Equipment     (30 min)
1.05 Lecture: Stereotactic Targeting and Imaging    (30 min)
1.06 Lecture: Physics and Technology Overview    (90 min)
1.07 Hands on Function and Hardware of the Gamma Knife® Units Part 1    (45 min)
1.08 Hands on Function and Hardware of the Gamma Knife® Units Part 2    (45 min)
1.09 Physics QA and Calibrations    (45 min)
1.10 Case Selection and Follow-up of GK Patients (Conference):     (60 min)
1.11 Lecture: Radiobiology     (90 min)
1.12 Question-Answer Session    (60 min)

Day 2: Clinical Radiosurgery - Part 1

2.01 Frame based SRS Part 1: Frame construction    (30 min)
2.02 Frame based SRS Part 2: Frame application, treatment and removal     (45 min)
2.03 Hands on Instructions-Daily Quality Assurance     (30 min)
2.04 Introduction to LGK Dose Planning Part 1     (45 min)
2.05 Introduction to LGK Dose Planning video Part 2     (60 min)
2.06 Lecture: ICON Introduction     (60 min)
2.07 Hands on Instructions-ICON Upgrade Training Dose Planning    (60 min)
2.08 Lecture: Brain Metastases      (60 min)
2.09 Lecture: Schwannomas    (45 min)
2.10 Lecture: Radiation Related Tumors    (30 min)
2.11 Hands on Instructions-Physics QA and Calibrations 2      (45 min)
2.12 Hands on Instructions-Advanced Dose Plan Practice 1     (45 min)
2.13 Hands on Instructions-Advanced Dose Plan Practice 2    (45 min)
2.14 Hands on Instructions-ICON: Cone Beam    (60 min)
2.15 Lecture: Trigeminal Neuralgia    (60 min)
2.16 Lecture: Pituitary Tumors and Craniopharyngiomas    (60 min)
2.16 Lecture: Pituitary Tumors and Craniopharyngiomas    (60 min)
2.17 Hands on Instructions-Dose Planning Practice- hands on instruction     (120 min)
2.18 Question-Answer Session    (60 min)

Day 3: Clinical Radiosurgery - Part 2

3.01 GK SRS: An ICON Mask Case    (30 min)
3.02 Hands on Instructions-Advanced Dose Planning 3: Additional     (30 min)
3.03 Hands on Instructions-Advanced Dose Planning 4: Administration        (30 min)
3.04 Lecture: AVM Radiosurgery    (60 min)
3.05 Lecture: Meningioma Radiosurgery    (45 min)
3.06 Lecture: Rare Tumors     (45 min)
3.07 Lecture:  Cavernous Malformations    (45 min)
3.08 Lecture: Spine Radiosurgery     (45 min)
3.09 Hands on Instructions-LGK ICON/ PFX Procedures and Safety Tips    (60 min)
3.10 Hands on Instructions-ICON Workflow    (75 min)
3.10 Test Case-Dose Planning (Forward)    (45 min)
3.11 Test Case-Dose Planning (Inverse)    (45 min)
3.12 Hands on Instructions-Dose Planning Practice     (120 min)
3.13 Question-Answer Session    (60 min)

Day 4: Clinical Radiosurgery - Part 3

4.01 A PFX Case: Wheels- in to Wheels- Out     (60 min)
4.02 Lecture:  Gliomas   (60 min)
4.03 Lecture:  Patient Preparation, Teaching, Coding    (30 min)
4.04 Lecture: Functional Radiosurgery     (30 min)
4.05 Lecture:  Requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission    (60 min)
4.06 Lecture:  Dose Selection & Informed Consent    (90 min)
4.07 Lecture-Anesthesia for Pediatric Gamma Knife Surgery    (30 min)
4.08 Lecture: Conclusions of the Course    (30 min)
4.09 Hands on Instructions: Dose planning practice    (120 min)
4.10 Question-Answer Session   (60 min)

Course Faculty

L. Dade Lunsford, MD
Lars Leksell Professor of Neurological Surgery
DirectorCenter for Image-Guided Neurosurgery
University of Pittsburgh

Ajay Niranjan, MD, MBA
Professor of Neurological Surgery
UPMC MEG Brain Mapping Center
Associate Director, Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery
University of Pittsburgh

John C. Flickinger, MD
Professor of Radiation Oncology
University of Pittsburgh

Peter Gerszten, MD, MPH
Peter E. Sheptak Professor of Neurological Surgery
University of Pittsburgh

Michael Sheetz, MS, CHP
Director, Radiation Safety

Greg Bednarz, PhD

Jong Oh Kim, PhD

Jonet Vacsulka, BSN

Technical Support

Susan E. Lohman, RN, CNOR  (Elekta)

Jay Forsythe, CMD, RT (Elekta)

Andy Lunsford
Senior Field Service Engineer (Elekta)

In accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials distributed at the time of the conference.

Tuition and Registration

$6,500 for four-day course (new users or users converting older GK to Perfexion).

$4,500 for three-day ICON upgrade course (days 2-4 of the four-day course).

The fee includes the syllabus and the latest book Leksell Radiosurgery.

As course enrollment is limited to 15 people, early registration is recommended. Please complete the Registration Form and return to:

Kelly Powell, Course Coordinator
UPMC Presbyterain/Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery
200 Lothrop Street/Suite F188
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582 
Phone: 412-647-7744

A current digital photograph of the course participant must be submitted when registering. Submit the photo to Kelly Powell at

Registration will not be accepted without tuition payment. Please make tuition check payable to, “UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside,” including the name of participant and last five digits of the participant's social security number. For more information on tuition, please contact Kelly Powell at 412-647-7744. 

Credit card payment is also accepted. Online payment can be made at

Please note: All cancellations must be received two weeks prior to start of course or tuition will be applied to a future training course.

A .pdf version of the program/registration form is available for download.

Accreditation and Credit Designation

In support of improving patient care, the University of Pittsburgh is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Physician (CME)
The University of Pittsburgh School designates this live activity for a maximum of 50.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Medical Physicist (CME)
The University of Pittsburgh School designates this live activity for a maximum of 34.50 Medical Physics Continuing Education Credits through CAMPEP. Medical physicist should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Other Healthcare Professionals
Other health care professionals will receive a certificate of attendance confirming the number of contact hours commensurate with the extent of participation in this activity.

Disclaimer Statement

The information presented at this CME program represents the views and opinions of the individual presenters, and does not constitute the opinion or endorsement of, or promotion by, the UPMC Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences, UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or Affiliates and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Reasonable efforts have been taken intending for educational subject matter to be presented in a balanced, unbiased fashion and in compliance with regulatory requirements. However, each program attendee must always use his/her own personal and professional judgment when considering further application of this information, particularly as it may relate to patient diagnostic or treatment decisions including, without limitation, FDA-approved uses and any off-label uses.

Future Course Dates

(Four days didactic and hands-on with optional fifth day for case observation)

November 8-12

January 10-14
March 14-18
May 9-13
July 11-15
September 12-16
November 7-11