Winthrop Center of Excellence
Outpatient Treatment Process
CyberKnife generally requires one to five visits customized to each
- 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. Lesions in the head do not require this process.
- A customized, soft facemask (for head/neck treatments) or body mold is formed to help minimize movement. The process is painless and simple.
- A CT Scan is performed to identify the size, shape and location of the tumor, as well as surrounding tissue to be avoided. In some situations an MRI may also be performed.
With the CT data downloaded to the CyberKnife treatment-planning
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
- This is a painless procedure, and patients are urged to relax. Comfortable clothing should be worn without any jewelry. Patients are encouraged to bring a list of questions to ask the CyberKnife team, which is there to ensure comfort and safety.
- 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 30-90 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.
For a single treatment, the process is complete after one session, and the patient can usually leave the hospital, resuming 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.
As with any radiosurgery or radiation therapy, follow-up
imaging and physician consultation are required to