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Cyber Knife

  • Posted on- Jul 12, 2017
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Cyber Knife, one of the most advanced forms of radiosurgery, is a painless, non-invasive treatment that delivers high doses of precisely targeted radiation to destroy tumours or lesions within the body. It uses a robotic arm to deliver highly focused beams of radiation. The flexibility of the robotic arm makes it possible to treat areas of the body, such as the spine and spinal cord, that can't be treated by other radiosurgery techniques.

  • Radiation therapy uses focused beams of intense energy to destroy cancer cells and shrink or control the growth of tumours. Radiation therapy works by preventing targeted cells from multiplying.
  • The objective is to destroy harmful cells whether minimizing the death of normal cells.
  • Radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy that uses precisely targeted radiation to destroy tumours. Radiosurgery is non-invasive, there is no cutting involved.

Advantages of cyber over other radiosurgery:

  • Precision through Robotic Architecture-The Cyber Knife System uses a robot that bends and moves around the patient.
  • It can approach the target from hundreds of unique angles, significantly expanding the possible positions from which radiation beams can be delivered.
  • The more degrees of freedom, the angles and points in space from which to approach the tumour, the better the radiation beams can be sculpted to avoid healthy cells.
  • May things happen from the time a patient has been set up on the treatment couch and radiation is delivered. The patient could change their position. The patient could cough. Muscles tense and relax. Fluids and gasses displace internal organs. The patient breathes.
  • The Cyber Knife System is designed to automatically accommodate all forms of patient and tumour motion, even while the treatment is being delivered.
  • Before delivering the radiation beam, the Cyber Knife System verifies the exact tumour position and adjusts the robot to precisely target the tumour. This ensures radiation is delivered to where the tumour is, not to where it was moments before.
  • The accuracy of cyber knife is of sub-millimetre, i.e. its pinpoint precision is that of thickness of a dime.

Conditions where cyber knife treatment can be used:

Cyber knife is used to treat cancerous or non-cancerous tumours. Any benign tumours can be treated by cyber knife. And for cancerous tumours there are certain cancer conditions which can be treated which are:

  • Brain cancer: Conditions such as benign and malignant primary tumours, brain metastases, trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuromas and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) can be treated by cyber knife. It is even used to treat complicated neurosurgical cases, while maximally sparing brain tissues involved in important functions such as hearing and vision.
  • Liver cancer: Treating liver cancer with radiation therapy is a challenge because liver tumours move with respiration (breathing). In addition, the tissue surrounding the liver tumours is very sensitive and can be damaged easily. Cyber knife can treat complicated cases without damaging the surrounding organ.
  • Lung cancer: Treating tumours in the lung is challenging as tumours move as the patient breathes. Cyber knife can be effective as it minimize exposure to healthy lung tissue, chest wall and nearby organs.
  • Pancreas cancer: Patients with borderline cases of pancreas cancers can be treated using cyber knife t kill certain tumours which cannot be treated with other methods or radiosurgeries.
  • Prostate cancer: Prostate gland can't be easy to track as it may move with any possible body movement. Cyber knife can be helpful due to its high precision and unique moveable robotic arm, which can detect the position of the prostate gland.
  • Spine tumour: It is routinely used to treat conditions in the spine, including benign and malignant primary tumours and spinal metastases. Cyber knife may be used to treat complicated neurosurgical cases, while avoiding the spinal cord and other critical structures from radiation exposure.

Process and side effects of cyber knife:

  • Depending on the diagnosis, some of imaging technique which could include CT, MRI or PET scans, which would medical team determine the exact size, shape and location of the tumour.
  • Using the imaging data, the medical team will determine the size of the area being targeted by radiation, the radiation dose, and identify critical structures - such as the spine or nearby organs - where radiation should be minimized.
  • During treatment, the Cyber Knife System's computer-controlled robot will move around the body to various locations from which it will deliver radiation. At each position, it will stop to determine precisely where the radiation should be delivered.
  • The patient can quickly return to its daily activity post treatment.
  • Patient can undergo some mild side effects which can remove easily which are:
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss where radiation has been done for brain tumour
  • Vomiting


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