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Celebrating the Retirement & Legacy of Dr. Steven R. Isaacson

Gamma Knife Co-directors Dr. Steven Isaacson (top right) & Dr. Michael Sisti with Program Director Jerry Lesser (center).

The retirement of Dr. Steven R. Isaacson marks the close of a single career, but his work serves as a foundation for future generations.

Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Michael B. Sisti started the radiosurgery program at Columbia in 1989. Nine years later, they opened the Gamma Knife Center.

“I’ve had the great honor and privilege of working with Dr. Isaacson for the past 25 years,” says Dr. Sisti.  “Dr. Isaacson is one of the best. He is unique and we will miss him. The Gamma Knife Center team diligently works for the best possible outcome for each patient. We’ve treated over 5,000 patients since we opened.  Through Dr. Isaacson’s efforts, our future is secure and holds great promise. We look forward to rendering the same great care to the next 5000 patients we serve.”

Gamma Knife technology is more common now, but the center at Columbia was one of the first in the area. Despite its name, the Gamma Knife is a method of treating issues like brain tumors and vascular disorders without making an incision. A concentrated beam of light targets the area with little or no pain.

Dr. Isaacson’s special interest and expertise in radiosurgery was instrumental in the center’s development. He worked with the linear accelerator, a device that uses high-energy X-rays to treat tumors, before starting the Gamma Knife Center. This provided an experience base that set a high standard at the center and gave it an advantage over other centers.

The level of professionalism in Columbia’s radiosurgery program and the experienced staff at the Gamma Knife Center keep it a leader in the field. Much of the staff has remained at the center since its opening. Dr. Isaacson has led by example by remaining the Co-Director for 17 years.

Dr. Isaacson’s years of educating and mentoring are another facet of his legacy. He is board certified in both Radiation Oncology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and has served as Clinical Professor of Radiation Oncology (Neurological Surgery) at Columbia University.

The Gamma Knife Center holds a special place in Dr. Isaacson’s heart, and is high on the list of achievements that set his career apart.

“It’s been the center of my professional efforts for over 25 years,” Dr. Isaacson says. “Standards have been set that are of the highest quality. Goals have been achieved, and (the center’s) excellence has been validated internationally.”

“It’s my fervent hope that this center, which is really a living, breathing entity, will continue its successful journey far into the future.”

Many thanks to Dr. Isaacson for his efforts and contributions.

Read more about Dr. Steven R. Isaacson on his bio page here.

Read more about Dr. Michael B. Sisti on his bio page here.

Read more about Columbia’s Gamma Knife Center here.

patient journey

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