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CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery Outpatient Treatment Process

NYU Winthrop Hospital’s CyberKnife© Center on Long Island, NY is an internationally recognized Center of Excellence and one of the busiest, most experienced CyberKnife centers in the U.S. You can be confident you’ll have world-class treatment from our caring and compassionate CyberKnife team. Learn more about the CyberKnife Advantage.

Depending on the condition treated, CyberKnife treatment generally requires one to five 45-minute outpatient treatments customized to your condition.

CyberKnife Treatment Preliminary Setup

  • Patients undergoing CyberKnife treatment for a spinal or body lesion may require the implantation of several small markers (fiducials) near the tumor to enable the system to track its position throughout the procedure. Head lesions do not require this process.
  • A customized, soft facemask (for head/neck treatments) or a body mold is formed to help minimize movement. The process is painless and simple.
  • A CT Scan is performed to identify the tumor’s size, shape and location, as well as surrounding tissue to be avoided. Sometimes an MRI may also be performed.

CyberKnife Treatment Planning

With the CT data downloaded to the CyberKnife computer, physicians use advanced software to customize the treatment plan. They determine the number, intensity and direction of the radiation beams required. Patients do not need to be present for this.

Painless Treatment Delivery

  • Even though the word “knife” is in the name, CyberKnife is a painless, bloodless robotic radiosurgery procedure. With state-of-the-science precision, the radiation beam targets the tumor without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. Patients are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing (no jewelry). Our CyberKnife team ensures patients’ comfort and safety and welcomes any questions.
  • While lying on the treatment table, the patient is fitted with the custom mask or body mold created during the earlier setup process.
  • Patients are fully awake through the entire procedure which lasts approximately 45 minutes depending on the complexity of the tumor.
  • The CyberKnife robot will move slowly around the patient and deliver the radiation. Periodically the image guidance system will take X-rays to ensure the treatment is being delivered accurately. Learn more about How CyberKnife Works.

CyberKnife Treatment Completion

For a single treatment, the process is complete after one session, and the patient can usually leave the hospital and resume normal activity immediately. If the physician prescribes staged or "hypofractionated" treatment, the patient will return for additional daily treatments -- typically no more than 2-5 sessions are needed. Learn more about Conditions CyberKnife Treats.

CyberKnife Treatment Follow Up

As with any radiosurgery or radiation therapy, follow-up imaging and physician consultation are required to monitor progress.