The CyberKnife Radiation System offers cancer patients an effective, non-invasive alternative to traditional surgery.
By: SERO Staff
What is CyberKnife Therapy?
The CyberKnife Radiation Therapy System is an innovative cancer treatment technology designed to perform non-invasive radiosurgery on both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors located anywhere in the body.
The CyberKnife System works by delivering beams of high-dose radiation to tumor cells, a process which aims to destroy the cells and prevent them from repairing themselves or reproducing. Thanks to the system’s advanced imaging and robotics technologies, the radiation beams are delivered with pin-point accuracy to their targets—thereby preserving healthy tissue in the areas surrounding tumors.
What Can Be Treated with CyberKnife Radiation?
CyberKnife may be used to treat both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. It is most commonly used as an alternative to traditional surgery for patients with inoperable tumors or in cases in which surgery would be too complex or dangerous to perform.
Doctors may also recommend the use of CyberKnife radiation in the place of conventional radiation therapy in some cases. Due to the system’s extreme targeting accuracy, CyberKnife therapy can often deliver a shorter, more effective course of treatment compared to External Beam Radiation Therapy.
Common CyberKnife treatment areas include:
A Proven Tool in Combating Tumors
With the introduction of CyberKnife Radiation technology in 1990, the world of radiation oncology gained an innovative tool with exceptional capabilities. After several advances over the past two decades, CyberKnife remains unique among radiation technology in its accuracy and effectiveness, and continues to provide a viable alternative to traditional surgery.
Real-Time Image Guidance and Pinpoint Accuracy
The CyberKnife System works by combining advanced robotics with real-time imaging. The robotics are used to deliver beams of radiation—a general-purpose robotic arm which is controlled by a computer, is programmed using data from CT scans of the patient to target certain spots. Then, while the arm is delivering the radiation treatment, the system is also taking X-rays of the patient, which are fed directly into the computer system that controls the arm. By feeding 3-D images of the patient into the computer in real time, the arm can adjust its positioning very quickly. The range of motion of the robotic arm and the real-time image guidance allows for the highly accurate delivery of radiotherapy to anywhere in the body.
Comfort and Freedom
These important characteristics also make the system much more comfortable for the patient. Many SRS technologies, particularly those used to deliver treatment to tumors in the brain, require the patient to be rigidly immobilized during treatment. In many cases, this is achieved by a tight framing that is fastened to the patient’s head with titanium screws.
CyberKnife treatment capitalizes on the free range of motion provided by its robotic arm and the real-time image updates to deliver radiation from multiple angles, and gives the patient much more latitude to rest comfortably during treatment.
What to Expect During Treatment
A team of SERO physicians, nurses, and technologists work together to provide a comprehensive treatment program for patients undergoing CyberKnife Radiation treatment.
Imaging and Planning
Imaging technicians use a high-resolution CT scan to pin-point the size and shape of tumors and their precise location inside the body.
The images taken by the CT machine are transferred electronically to the CyberKnife guidance computer, and SERO clinicians begin planning treatments based on the specifics of the patient’s condition.
A SERO doctor will then use the CyberKnife software to create a treatment plan which is carefully designed to target tumors with the proper doses of radiation while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy cells.
Undergoing the Procedure
Once the SERO team has developed treatment plans, the patient is ready to undergo the CyberKnife procedure. The CyberKnife system is located at [Location page link].
Upon arriving, patients will be positioned on the treatment table. The CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robotic arm then moves around the patient at various angles, delivering radiation therapy to the tumor locations.
Treatment sessions with the Cyberknife System last between 30 and 90 minutes. Session time depends on the type and location of the tumor. In many cases, patients will be treated in stages over several sessions, although there are typically no more than five days of treatment.
After receiving a full course of Cyberknife Radiation Treatment, patients will return for a followup visit to monitor progress and treat side effects.
Side effects tend to be minimal or non-existent for most patient. Depending on the treatment site, some patients may experience mild nausea or fatigue. Side effects that manifest in the patient will normally go away within the first ten days after treatment.
SERO’s CyberKnife Specialists
Drs. Scott Lankford and Jerome Butler have both completed specialized training in Cyberknife radiosurgery and head this program at Carolinas Medical Center Northeast.
Call (704) 380-0730 today for more information about CyberKnife technology or to schedule a consultation.