Introduction to CyberKnife
CyberKnife works by delivering a series of high-dose radiation beams at varying points outside of the body. These beams are programmed to converge at one specific point — the tumor. Separately, the beams are not strong enough for the patient to incur any damage to healthy tissue as a result of the radiation therapy. But where the beams converge, the cancerous tissue is destroyed. This technology can spare the tissue of vital organs near complex tumors of abnormal formation. CyberKnife’s robotic precision ensures surrounding tissue is spared.
What Is Robotic Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a precise, painless, non-invasive radiation treatment that utilizes very accurately targeted, large “killing” doses of radiation. This non-invasive “operation” has proven to be an effective alternative to surgery or conventional radiation for treating many small tumors and a few other select medical disorders.
Multiple beams of high-energy radiation are delivered from multiple points outside of the body and converge precisely at the tumor or lesion inside the body. Each individual beam is not sufficient to cause harm, but the convergence of all the beams at the tumor results in the lesion receiving a very high dose of radiation while sparing nearby normal tissue.
Because CyberKnife radiosurgery is so precise, radiation beams can be sculpted to small, complex-shaped tumors near critical structures, such as hearing and vision nerves. This ability to accurately irradiate only the tumor and protect healthy tissue allows the CyberKnife to treat many lesions that may be considered inoperable or untreatable with other radiosurgery systems—giving many patients new hope.
Standard stereotactic techniques rely on a rigid metal frame fixed to a patient’s skull for head immobilization and target localization. However, such frame-based systems have numerous limitations, including:
- Restricting treatment to the brain;
- Limiting the possible angles at which radiation can be delivered; and
- Causing considerable discomfort for the patient.
In contrast to the standard frame-based radiosurgical instruments, the CyberKnife uses noninvasive image-guided localization and a robotic delivery system. This combination of technologies enables the CyberKnife to overcome the limitations of older frame-based radiosurgery such as the Gamma Knife and LINAC.
The CyberKnife belongs to a new class of radiotherapy techniques called image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT). The CyberKnife is unique in that it uses a compact linear accelerator (linac) mounted on an image-guided robotic arm to deliver multiple beams of high energy x-rays to a target. The ability of the CyberKnife to shape the profile of radiation to conform to the patient’s individual anatomy allows for maximum sparing of surrounding normal tissues.
The CyberKnife accomplishes this by accurately cross-firing approximately 150 beams of radiation at the target from multiple directions. The CyberKnife technology represents an improvement upon the most advanced conventional radiation therapy techniques: Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT). Similar to IMRT, the CyberKnife can produce a highly conformal dose distribution that “matches” the shape of the tumor and spares adjacent normal anatomy (such as the bladder and rectum for prostate cancer).
What Is CyberKnife?
CyberKnife radiosurgery is non-invasive radiation treatment that can be a comfortable alternative to surgery in many cases. This system allows for precise delivery of higher, hyperfractionated radiation doses. The technology is proven and well established on the basis of previous radiation technology used for more than 30 years and over 90,000 patients have been treated worldwide. CyberKnife is the world’s exclusive provider of non-invasive robotic radiosurgery tumor treatment that can be used throughout the body.
The CyberKnife System is approved by the FDA to treat tumors and lesions anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is indicated. As an alternative to chemotherapy, CyberKnife can treat many types of cancer, including tumors, brain cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, metastases, cancer of the pancreas, prostate cancer, and spinal cancer.
The CyberKnife utilizes a combination of advanced technologies. To apply its exceptional radiosurgery performance, this system uses image-guided software that tracks subtle movements of the patient in real-time during the procedure and adjusts the treatment accordingly.
The CyberKnife can treat inoperable and hard to reach cancerous tumors. Because radiation is delivered from many angles, no single area of healthy tissue is adversely affected. Real-time monitoring of tumor position triggers near instantaneous adjustment of the direction of the high-dose radiation beams.
By avoiding traditional surgery, patients are spared the risks of infection, excess bleeding, complications from anesthesia, and uncomfortable recovery. There are few, if any, side effects and virtually immediate return to normal activities. As an alternative to chemotherapy, CyberKnife treatment causes fewer side effects.
How Does CyberKnife Work?
The CyberKnife is a combination of two advanced technologies to apply its exceptional radiosurgery performance: This system uses image-guided software that tracks subtle movements of the patient in real-time during the procedure and adjusts the treatment accordingly.
The patient is lying down comfortably throughout the entire procedure — they may dress in everyday attire, with the only exception being the removal of any metals near the area of treatment. The CyberKnife system is gentle; our radiation therapy does not require the placement of frames fixed to the skull. As a substitute, the technology tracks movements while maintaining intense and precise radiation dosages. This technology is so accurate that no single area of healthy tissue is adversely affected. We treat tumors throughout the body, with precision that is comparable to no other cancer treatment system.
- Radiation Delivery – The radiation delivery system is mounted on a multi-jointed robotic arm. This articulation allows the arm to access areas of the body that are untreatable with conventional radiosurgery.
- Image Guidance System – The lightweight radiation delivery system is guided by real-time imagery of a patient’s body. This advancement allows the CyberKnife System to track the tumor or lesion throughout treatment and correct for small patient movements in real time, thereby delivering precise radiation treatment with sub-millimeter accuracy.