CyberKnife is a robotic radiosurgery system commonly used for the treatment of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the brain or the base of the skull. It is also used in certain cases to treat cancers of the pancreas, liver, prostate and lungs. CyberKnife offers a non-invasive alternative to surgery. Without using scalpels or any cutting at all, the CyberKnife delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with pin-point precision. During treatment, image guidance software tracks movement of the patient and tumor to accommodate for adjustments and ensure patient comfort.
How the CyberKnife Works
Before CyberKnife treatment begins, a high-resolution CT scan is taken to locate the tumor and its size and shape. Data from the CT scan is digitally transferred to the CyberKnife System for treatment planning. Your radiation oncologist will then plan your treatment by matching the radiation dose to the tumor location and to limit the amount of radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
After the treatment plan is configured, the CyberKnife procedure begins. A comfortable custom plastic mask or foam body cradle is positioned around your body to help you stay in a fixed position. Then the CyberKnife will slowly move around your treatment area. A small linear particle accelerator produces radiation beams which are directed at the tumor with pin-point accuracy by a robotic arm.
What to Expect
CyberKnife treatment generally takes from one to five sessions of 60 to 90 minutes each. Most patients feel no pain during the treatment and are able to go home immediately afterward.
Benefits of CyberKnife
CyberKnife allows physicians to target treatment of tumors with accuracy of less than 1 mm. This treatment is available for tumors that were previously considered inoperable and reduces the risks of complications sometimes associated with conventional surgery. During the CyberKnife treatment the radiation dosage that is administered can be adjusted to minimize exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.