Narrator: This is Science Today. The gamma knife is a non-invasive procedure that delivers highly focused radiation therapy and is used for certain brain tumors. UCLA had the first gamma knife in North America, but Dr. Neil Martin, the chief of UCLA's Division of Neurosurgery, says they're now using a more modern equivalent.
Martin: A shaped beam computer-guided radiosurgery unit that actually can hit the tumor with any shape field as opposed to this fixed, spherical fields that the gamma knife has used in the past. So no matter what the configuration of the tumor, it could be hit quite precisely with radiation therapy.
Narrator: And Martin says in many cases, that's the optimal treatment.
Martin: Surgery is still required in the majority of cases of brain tumors, but the surgical approach is now much more precise. They're computer-guided, they're minimally invasive and they're a whole different experience than what they were fifteen years ago.
Narrator: UCLA's Division of Neurosurgery recently celebrated their 50th year. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.