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, 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, the CyberKnife treatment involves no cutting. In fact, the CyberKnife system 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.
Why is the CyberKnife® system unique?
The CyberKnife® system is a one-of-a-kind device for several reasons.
First, the CyberKnife uses image guidance software to track and continually adjust treatment for any patient or tumor movement. This allows patients to breathe normally and relax comfortably during treatment.
Second, some other forms of radiosurgery, such as Gamma Knife, require rigid headframes that are screwed into the patient's skull to minimize any movement. The CyberKnife does not require such extreme procedures, relying instead on sophisticated tracking software that allows for a much more comfortable and non-invasive treatment.
Third, unlike some systems that can only treat tumors in the head, the CyberKnife can treat a broad range of tumors throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney.
And finally, the accuracy of the CyberKnife is unrivaled. It can essentially "paint" the tumor with radiation, precisely delivering treatment to the tumor alone while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
CyberKnife® treatments utilize a team approach involving several specialists. Prior to the procedure, the patient is imaged using a high-resolution CT scan to determine the size, shape and location of the tumor. The image data is then digitally transferred to the CyberKnife system's workstation.
Next, a qualified clinician uses 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 developed, the patient is ready to undergo the CyberKnife procedure. He or she is comfortably positioned on the treatment table. The CyberKnife system's computer-controlled robot then slowly moves around the patient to various locations from which is delivers radiation to the tumor.
Each treatment session lasts between 30 and 90 minutes. Patients may need to return for additional treatments over several days (typically no more than five), as determined by the patient's doctor. Patients may experience some minimal side effects, but those often go away within the first week or two after treatment.