Winthrop Center of Excellence
How the CyberKnife Works
As the patient rests comfortably on a table without restraints or a metal frame bolted to the skull, CyberKnife delivers multiple radiation beams from many points outside the body to the targeted tumor. On its own, each beam is relatively weak, but when they converge on the identified mass, they deliver high-energy, pinpointed radiation with astounding power.
The groundbreaking CyberKnife system couples two advanced technologies:
- A light-weight radiation source (linear accelerator) mounted on an ultra-flexible, multi-jointed robotic arm moves constantly, providing unprecedented access to areas of the body that cannot be reached by conventional radiosurgery systems.
- An image guidance system uses several computerized X-ray cameras to verify the tumor's location, track its position and remain on target even as the patient breathes during treatment. The images allow the robotic arm to compensate for tumor movement and reposition the linear accelerator, which then changes the angle and direction of the radiation beams and delivers them to the targeted site quickly and accurately -- anywhere in the body.