CyberKnife is an effective and innovative method of radiosurgery, this non-invasive approach has opened a new era of treatment for inoperable pathological processes, including malignant tumors of the brain and internal organs.
The unique technology of CyberKnife distinguishes it from other methods of radiotherapy and radiosurgery, used in cancer treatment. Among the main differences is important to note:
- Full automation treatment procedures with high-precision instruments eliminate the possibility of erroneous destruction of healthy tissue
- The total dose of radiation received by the patient is much lower than with external irradiation protocols, which reduces the risk of systemic side effects and complications
- The procedure also does not require immobilization of the body for focusing radiation. The robotic control system enables physicians to perform the procedure on the patient painlessly by eliminating the discomfort caused by external fixation devices to the body
- This technique is useful not only to treat brain diseases (like other radiosurgery techniques) but also processes localized in other parenchymatous organs
How is CyberKnife Performed?
CyberKnife is a high-tech and fully robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat benign and malignant processes in areas of the body that are difficult to access via traditional surgical methods. The technique is based on the ability of high intensity ionizing radiation to destroy the cellular structure of pathological foci, achieving a similar effect of a scalpel.
Precise focusing of the CyberKnife is controlled by a computer system, for optimum power of radiation directly to the area of neoplasms, excluding exposing healthy surrounding tissue with radiation. Further growth of cancer cells halt within the area of tissue that CyberKnife was applied; connective tissue replaces the disease processes, scar tissue is morphologically identical to traditional surgery.
Indications for CyberKnife Radiosurgery
The main indications for the use of radiosurgery are for cases where tumors are inaccessible to remove using open or endoscopic surgical procedures. The inability to remove the tumors in these circumstances could be for numerous reasons, among which include:
- Advanced stages of cancer, characterized by significant regional invasion into adjacent organs and tissues. Traditional surgical intervention at this stage can lead to organ damage and threaten the patient's life
- The location of the pathological process is in close proximity to vital anatomical structures, this may pose further complications
- Multiple metastases
- Recurrent tumors arising prior to surgery, as well as malignant processes resistant to medication and traditional methods of radiotherapy
- Serious chronic diseases of the patient, is a contraindication for the traditional surgery
CyberKnife is performed in the following diseases:
- Brain tumors. The high efficiency of the CyberKnife at meningiomas, as well as many other types of malignant and benign brain tumors
- Visceral neoplasms - kidney, adrenal gland, lung, liver, pancreas and prostate
- Tumors of the spine and spinal cord
Modern clinical studies are expanding the indications for radiosurgery, increasing the likelihood of a favorable course of many intractable diseases. Methods of CyberKnife treatment in the short term, can completely replace a number of surgical procedures, including those aimed at radical removal of cancer.
How Does CyberKnife Work?
A computer or magnetic resonance tomography (by a high-resolution protocol) to determine the precise positioning and depth of pathological foci, precedes the treatment of CyberKnife. Then the scanned data entered into a computer system, is processed and thus a treatment plan is defined. Once the navigation scheme is formulated, the patient is positioned on a comfortable bed, of which is attached to the CyberKnife. During the treatment, a robot controls the irradiating element of the CyberKnife, following the exact scheme formulated by the aforementioned system.
The duration of treatment takes around 30 to 90 minutes to perform. Depending on the indications, the need for further treatment or prolonged treatment may be necessary. Patients who underwent the CyberKnife procedure showed no significant side effects during and after their treatment. The possible side effects of CyberKnife include (symptoms that quickly fade) - fatigue, weakness and nausea, and of which rarely require additional medical intervention.
The Cost of CyberKnife Treatment
The cost of treatment with CyberKnife technology is determined by the type and severity of the disease, as well as the scope and quantity necessary for effective treatment procedures. For example, the cost of treatment of meningioma by CyberKnife varies from the cost of the surgery involving other internal organs. Specialists perform a thorough diagnosis and determine the indications for radiosurgical treatment, and provide the patient with full information on the cost of basic and complex therapy. Overall patients have given positive feedback regarding their CyberKnife procedure/s; it is also readily accessible like its predecessors of tumor therapies.