S. Christopher Hoffelt, MD
Medical director, PeaceHealth Southwest Radiation Oncology/CyberKnife®
There’s nothing else like it in the world, and CyberKnife® can only be found in a handful of U.S. hospitals—including PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
What makes the CyberKnife system so special is that it can achieve a non-invasive surgical-like outcome for many conditions that are otherwise inoperable. Just two years after its arrival at PeaceHealth Southwest, CyberKnife has been used to treat a wide variety of diseases and body sites, including brain metastasis, pituitary, pelvic lymph node, lung, bone, mengianoma, kidney, liver, pancreas, Trigeminal Neuralgia, AVM, and prostate.
How Does it Work?
The CyberKnife uses a miniature linear accelerator (LINAC) mounted on a robotic arm to deliver concentrated beams of radiation to the targeted tumor from multiple positions and angles. Through the use of image guidance cameras, similar to those used for cruise missile guidance, the CyberKnife system locates the position of the tumor in the body and uses its robotic arm to deliver highly focused beams of radiation. These beams control or kill the tumor cells while minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
Fast and Comfortable
The patient lies on a table and wears a custom-fit mesh facemask or body immobilizer while the robotic arm delivers the radiation. Most treatments typically last about an hour per lesion, after which the patient can get up and go home the same day.
How is CyberKnife Different from Gamma Knife?
Unlike other stereotactic radiosurgery systems, CyberKnife delivers concentrated and accurate beams of radiation to targets both inside and outside the brain. The robotic arm is highly flexible, allowing access to tumors in difficult-to-reach locations. The CyberKnife is also unique because it does not require the use of an invasive stereotactic head frame or stereotactic body frame. The CyberKnife system can also compensate for patient movement during treatment, constantly ensuring accurate targeting. It is important to note that Gamma Knife treatment is not an option for primary lung cancers.
The Benefits of CyberKnife
- Better access to hard-to-reach or previously inoperable tumors
- More accurate radiation targeting for minimal radiation exposure to surrounding tissue
- Ability to treat multiple tumors in different locations during a single session
- Treatment of lesions that have previously undergone the maximum-allowed radiation dose
- Improved comfort due to the elimination of the invasive head frame
- No need to be admitted to hospital/No incision or scalpel
- Fewer complications than traditional surgery
What will the CyberKnife Treat?
CyberKnife can be used to treat any of the following conditions: Intracranial (within the brain) tumors and lesions; extracranial (on the outside of the brain) tumors and lesions; spine cancer and spinal cord tumors ; malignant tumors (primary & metastases (cancer that has spread beyond the original organ or site)); benign tumors; Acoustic Neuromas; Schwannomas; Meningiomas ; Pituitary Adenomas; Arterial Venous Malformations and functional disorders (Trigeminal Neuralgia ).
Published June 2008.