How do CyberKnife® Patients Benefit?
benefit patients in a number of ways. On the day of the treatment, the patient
lies on a table in street clothes and wears a custom-fit mesh facemask or body
immobilizer. Image detectors on each side of the patient receive signals from
ceiling mounted x-ray sources that allow the system to know the exact location
of the tumor and where to move. The robotic arm then moves the linear accelerator,
which delivers the radiation. With over 1,200 possible orientations, the radiation
beams are capable of targeting the tumor with pinpoint accuracy. After the treatment
the patient can get up and go home the same day, with zero recovery time.
Traditional radiation therapy can involve 10 to 40 treatments but with CyberKnife® that
can be reduced to one to five treatments. That means more flexibility for patients
and less time away from work.
- No incision
- No pain
- No traditional, rigid head frame
- No anesthesia
- Minimal recovery time
- Rapid return to normal activities
The CyberKnife® Radiosurgery Center of Iowa provides outpatient image-guided
radiosurgery using the CyberKnife® system. The level of clinical experience
shared by the medical team and the diverse patient population served make the
Center unique in every aspect of patient care. Treatment days are Monday through
Friday and begin early in the morning. Patients receive between 1 and 5 treatments,
depending on the case. There will typically be visits for consultation,
fiducial placement (for lung and other extra-cranial cases), and for simulation
(a CT scan used to plan each patients’ individualized treatment), and
finally for your treatment(s). The average treatment session takes 1 to
2 hours with the potential for a treatment to take up to 3 hours depending on
the condition being treated, location, and the number of lesions/tumors targeted. Anesthesia
is not necessary for this procedure as it is non-invasive, however a mild sedative
may be given to help the patient relax and remain still during treatment.
The CyberKnife® procedure is performed using a multi-disciplinary team,
which may include a surgeon or neurosurgeon, radiation-oncologist, medical physicist,
radiation therapist and a registered nurse. Typically this team is present during
the treatment and is available to assist the patient and answer any questions
they may have before, during and after the treatment session(s). CyberKnife® patients
are encouraged to bring family members or friends for support.
What to expect:
Patients are scheduled for a planning session (pre-treatment) prior to receiving
a CyberKnife® treatment. If the condition being treated is for a brain
tumor or lesion, a custom-molded face mask is created in order to restrict movement
during the treatment session(s).
The mesh face mask is molded to the patient’s face quickly and the process
is painless. The mesh mask is allowed to dry and will be ready for the patient’s
use on the day of treatment. During the planning stage, the patient may receive
a CT and/or MRI. These images are then used to plan the treatment target and
dose. Following the CT and/or MRI scans, the patient can return home until the
day of treatment.
If the condition being treated is not intracranial, but elsewhere in the
body, special gold markers may need to be placed in the body. These markers
are called fiducials, and they help the CyberKnife® physicians localize
the treatment area. Fiducials are implanted by an interventional radiologist,
often in an outpatient medical center, and normally do not require hospitalization.
Fiducials are very small gold seeds, are completely harmless, and will remain
in the body following treatment.
Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan and treatments are
specific to the condition being targeted. Consequently treatment times may vary.
Some patients require additional treatments depending on the size and location
of their lesion. Fractionated treatments are usually of shorter duration given
in two to five sessions usually on consecutive days.