What is CyberKnife Surgery?
CyberKnife Radiosurgery is an alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. The treatment – which delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy – offers new hope to patients worldwide.
Though its name may conjure images of scalpels and surgery, CyberKnife treatments involve no cutting and are non-invasive. In fact, the CyberKnife therapy is the world’s first and only robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors throughout the body non-invasively. It provides a pain-free, non-surgical option for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to surgery.
“In an effort to accommodate our patient’s daily routine, some of our CyberKnife patients are treated during their lunch hour.”
– Dr. Lipani
The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body.
Possibilities for Cyberknife treatment include:
- Prostate cyberknife treatment
- Lung cyberknife treatment
- Brain cyberknife treatment
- Spine cyberknife treatment
- Liver cyberknife treatment
- Pancreas cyberknife treatment
- Kidney cyberknife treatment
The treatment – which delivers high doses of radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy – offers new hope to patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for a non-surgical option. To date, more than 100,000 patients have been treated and more than 222 systems are installed worldwide.
The CyberKnife® System is a one-of-a-kind device for several reasons:
First, the CyberKnife® System uses image guidance software to track and continually adjust treatment for any patient or tumor movement. This sets it far ahead of other similar treatments. It allows patients to breathe normally and relax comfortably during treatment.
Second, some forms of radiosurgery require rigid head-frames that are screwed into the patient’s skull to minimize any movement. The CyberKnife® System does not require such extreme procedures to keep patients in place, and instead relies on sophisticated tracking software, allowing for a much more comfortable and non-invasive treatment.
Third, unlike some radiosurgery systems, which are only used for brain tumor treatment, the CyberKnife System has unlimited reach to treat a broad range of tumors throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas, and kidney.
And finally, the CyberKnife® System’s treatment accuracy is unrivaled. Its ability to treat tumors with pin-point accuracy is unmatched by other radiation therapy and radiosurgery systems. The CyberKnife® System can essentially “paint” the tumor with radiation allowing it to precisely deliver treatment to the tumor alone, sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
The CyberKnife treatment process involve a team approach in which several specialists participate. For brain and spinal procedures, a radiation oncologist and a neurosurgeon are intimately involved in your care.
Prior to the procedure, a custom face mask is constructed for brain procedures and a custom body cradle is constructed for spinal procedures. These devices will aid with proper patient positioning and comfort throughout the radiosurgery scans and procedures. The patient is then imaged using a high-resolution CT scan, to determine the size, shape, and location of the tumor. The CT scan is often combined with an MRI for purposes of better target visualization.
Following scanning, the image data is digitally transferred to the CyberKnife® System’s workstation, where the treatment planning begins.
Qualified clinicians then use the CyberKnife software to generate a treatment plan. The plan is used to match the desired radiation dose to the identified tumor location while limiting radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Once the treatment plan has been reviewed and approved by all treating physicians, the patient is ready to undergo the CyberKnife® procedure. After arriving at the CyberKnife Center, patients are comfortably positioned on the treatment table. Then the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will slowly move around the patient to the various locations from which it will deliver radiation to the tumor.
Each treatment session will last between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the type of tumor being treated. If treatment is being delivered in stages, patients will need to return for additional treatments over several days (typically no more than five), as determined by the patients treating physicians. Patients may experience some minimal side effects, but those often go away within the first week or two after treatment.