BrainTumors.com - Cyberknife Radiosurgery
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Despite its name, Cyberknife treatment does not involve any cutting, blood loss, anesthesia, or pain. It uses a robotic system to treat tumors non-invasively with a focused dose of 150-200 beams of radiation each coming from a different angle, and is a good option for cancer patients who have inoperable or surgically complex brain tumors.
Like with Gamma Knife, it can be used to treat both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, sparing the healthy tissue that surrounds the tumor. Unlike Gamma Knife though, the patient does not need rigid immobilization (Cyberknife uses a face mask instead of a scalp fixed halo), since image guidance software tracks movement of the patient/tumor and moves the robotic arm to compensate. This makes the proceedure more comfortable. And, it may be able to reach some places that Gamma Knife can't, although it is generally considered to be less accurate and requires a longer session (and sometimes multiple treatments) as compared to Gamma Knife. CyberKnife has the advantage that it can be used on almost every part of the body, while Gamma Knife is only for brain tumors.
Unlike traditional brain surgery, CyberKnife does not remove the tumor. Instead the radiation destroys tumor cells and spares the surrounding tissue. CyberKnife treatments last a few hours and performed over a period of 1-5 days. It is an oupatient proceedure, meaning no overnight hospital stay is required. Before the treatment starts, imaging scans (MRI, CT, or CT/PET) are performed to determine the size, shape and location of the tumor. Some treatments may require the placement of fiducials, which are small gold markers inserted near the tumor to help identify the exact location of the tumor during treatment.
There are usually few to no side effects of Cyberknife, so the recovery time is fast and you can usually immediately return to your normal activities. The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System was approved by the FDA in 1999 to treat brain tumors and has been used successfully ever since in hospitals wordwide. It is covered in most states by Medicare and private insurance companies.
Note: The information provided on this website was not written by a doctor or cancer specialist, so in all cases you should consult your own doctor about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.