CyberKnife radiosurgery (CKRS) is a painless, non-invasive treatment that delivers high doses of radiation with sub-millimeter precision to cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body including the prostate, spine, brain, lung, neck, and head. Some of the most common conditions treated by CyberKnife are brain tumors, neurofibromatosis, pancreatic cancer, lymphoma, spinal cord tumors, nasopharynx cancer, lung cancer. CyberKnife has also been recently used as a primary treatment option for cancer patients with lung, adrenal, brain, bone and liver metastases.
CyberKnife radiosurgery system has pioneered in its area by taking advantage of the natural geometrical targeting precision of a commercial arm-based robotic system integrated with X-ray imaging and visualization feedback systems.
In this article, we will have more detailed information about this promising successful technology, hoping that it will contribute to your research.
How is CyberKnife Treatment Performed?
In the CyberKnife procedure, a flexible robotic arm is used to deliver highly focused beams of radiation. It uses real-time x-rays to set up the position of the lesion or tumor during treatment and then brings the radiation beam into the alignment with the observed position of the treatment target.
The flexibility of the robotic arm enables the beams to precisely target areas such as the spine and spinal cord that cannot be treated properly by other radiosurgery techniques.
Precision is an extremely important factor in CyberKnife therapy. The robotic design of CyberKnife system enables doctors to find the best angles and locations for radioactive beams to enter and exit the patient’s body, thus maximizing precision for targeted beams while minimizing exposure and damage to healthy tissues.
CyberKnife radiosurgery is a relatively easier and more comfortable treatment compared to other traditional open surgeries as it allows patients to lie comfortably on a cushioned treatment table without anesthesia and surgical incision while the robotic arm moves and treat all areas of the tumor. CyberKnife treatment is also performed on an outpatient basis with each treatment lasting between 30 to 90 minutes. The number of treatments may vary depending on the tumor’s location, size, and shape, but generally, only one to four or five daily treatment sessions are required.
CyberKnife vs. GammaKnife
Conventional radiation-based cancer treatment uses a general linear accelerator machine that produces high energy x-rays applied to kill cancer cells. In the stereotactic radiation, however, there are 2 most common modalities or machines that deliver radiation: GammaKnife and CyberKnife.
The GammaKnife machine is exclusively used to treat brain tumors or benign brain conditions. The CyberKnife machine is a linear accelerator (LINAC) placed on a robotic arm that can treat all sites of the body.
Although they are similar in terms of the purpose of the procedure, they differ in this way in terms of the application area.
What to Expect After CyberKnife Treatment?
When the procedure is done, patients are mostly able to go back to their usual activities but will need someone to drive them home immediately after treatment. CyberKnife treatment results may generally take weeks or months to detect. The outcome depends on the severity of the condition being treated. However, the doctor regularly monitors the patient’s progress through periodic follow-up examinations and imaging tests and scans to assess the tumor’s response to the delivered radiation. The follow-up control of the patient’s condition is generally done in 3 to 6 months after the CyberKnife treatment is performed. It can be used to treat patients with a 91% rate of either decrease or stabilization in brain tumor size. According to researches, overall 6-month and 1-year survival rates are 74% and 47%, respectively, and the average survival time was 56 weeks.
These data show us the height of the success rate of CyberKnife in brain tumors. While you are searching for the clinics and doctors for CyberKnife treatment related to other conditions, you need to be learned about the success rates of them, if possible.
CyberKnife Treatment Side Effects
In addition to all these benefits, there are some side effects that can be considered as disadvantages of this treatment. After CyberKnife treatment, patients may experience headaches or feel nauseated and tired. These side effects of CyberKnife treatment are generally temporary and most likely to dissipate within a couple of days. Uncommon or delayed complications such as skin reddening, vomiting, swelling, inflammation or scarring in the treatment area are less likely to occur (depending on the patient’s body immunity).
CyberKnife Treatment Cost
CyberKnife treatment can cost 20 to 45 percent less than conventional surgery. However, the cost of CyberKnife treatment is generally determined by the type and severity of the tumor, as well as the scope and quantity of radioactive beams necessary for an effective treatment procedure. Specialists perform a detailed and thorough diagnosis and provide the patient with full information on the cost of the treatment. The cost of CyberKnife radiosurgery (CKRS) may also vary depending on the location where the treatment is performed. For example, in the UK, a typical CyberKnife therapy costs approximately €25.000 whereas, in Poland, a thorough CyberKnife treatment cost is around €8,000. Likewise, the CyberKnife treatment cost in Turkey ranges between €10.000 and €15.000.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.