Planning and Treatment Process
All components of the CyberKnife treatment process are performed on an outpatient basis. The process includes:
Planning for CyberKnife Treatment
Your case will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists. This team, in collaboration with the referring physician, will determine the best treatment option for you. CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery can be used alone, or as part of a treatment plan that includes other cancer therapies.
For some patients, a short outpatient procedure may be required to implant gold markers (fiducials) in or near the treatment area. These markers enable the CyberKnife to align the pre-treatment and treatment images for greater dose delivery accuracy.
Before treatment begins, you will have a CT scan to determine the tumor’s size, shape, and location (and to identify the placement of the markers/fiducials). In some cases, additional imaging techniques may be required such as MRI, angiography, or PET scan.
The scans are digitally transferred to the CyberKnife where our physicians and the team use the system's software to determine the number, intensity, and direction of radiation beams the robot will send to the target, while avoiding the surrounding healthy tissue. You do not need to be present during this step.
During the CyberKnife procedure, you will lie on the treatment table with supportive positioning devices.
During the treatment process, the image-guided system verifies the treatment area and compares it to the original scans. It is at this point the computer uses the markers to align the scans and accurate identify the treatment area.
Dose delivery and tumor tracking
Once you have been positioned and the treatment area has been identified and confirmed, the CyberKnife robot will moves slowly around you to deliver radiation from many directions. When tumor movement is detected due to breathing or any body movement, the robot immediately and automatically adjusts the dose delivery. Throughout the treatment, the built-in imaging system periodically confirms the tumor’s position to ensure the radiation is delivered precisely as planned. Generally, no sedation or anesthesia is required. You will typically have from one to five treatments depending on the location of the tumor and the specific type of tumor.
After Your CyberKnife Treatment
Patients can usually resume normal activity immediately after their treatment. However, you may feel a little tired or fatigued after the treatment(s). Once the treatment is complete, you will likely have follow-up imaging scans to assess the tumor’s response to the radiation.