How It Works
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery system features a sophisticated robotic arm which has the ability to track tumor movement and offers non-invasive alternative to surgery. This means that the machine involves no cutting.
It is composed of a radiation delivery device, called a linear accelerator (or Linac) which is mounted on a robotic arm that moves around the treatment couch to give doses of radiation from different angles. The flexibility of the robotic arm enables the CyberKnife system to deliver radiation to tumors anywhere in the body, including the brain, head and neck, spine, lung, prostate, liver, pancreas, breast and other soft tissues.
The CyberKnife system also utilizes sophisticated software and advanced imaging to track tumor and patient movement and adjust the beams of high-dose radiation to ensure treatment is delivered with a high degree of accuracy. CyberKnife is used in a type of radiation therapy called stereotactic radiosurgery (also known as stereotactic radiotherapy). This treatment destroys tumors with extreme precision, very intense doses of radiation while minimizing damage to healthy tissue, offering accuracy akin to the sharpness of a surgeon’s scalpel.
During treatment, a patient lies still and breathes normally while the CyberKnife zeroes in on a moving target, (the lung as an example), and irradiates it without harming surrounding areas. As a result, the procedure is more comfortable for patients and radiation is delivered more accurately.
CyberKnife’s frameless open construction allows patients to lie comfortably, relax and breathe normally during treatment. It provides patients with minimal discomfort and no debilitating side effects, so that in general terms, it hardly affects their quality of life.
The radiotherapy machine usually takes x-rays every 10 to 20 seconds. The robotic arm uses x-rays to correct its position. This allows your radiographers to target radiotherapy beams accurately at the tumor, even if the tumor moves as you breathe.
CyberKnife requires no more than five treatment sessions. In contrast, conventional radiation therapy can require up to 40 appointments. This advanced method destroys tumors with very intense doses of radiation in fewer sessions than standard radiation therapy. With the CyberKnife system, patients can complete treatment in one (1) to five (5) days, compared to the weeks it takes to complete a course of conventional radiation therapy. In addition, 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.