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CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery

Last Updated 3/13/2011 9:57:43 PM


CyberKnife suiteEl Camino Hospital offers the cutting-edge radiation technology of the CyberKnife for the treatment of cancer, including lung cancer, brain cancer, and other forms of cancer. The CyberKnife is a radiation treatment device that is able to pinpoint solid tumors anywhere in the body--even brain tumors--with sub-millimeter accuracy using advanced image-guidance technology. As a result, no incisions, anesthesia or hospitalization are required. It is an innovative alternative to traditional cancer surgery and chemotherapy treatment options.

Precision and Power

For decades, the standard treatment of many cancerous tumors has involved surgery, radiation or a combination of both. In certain areas of the body, such as the brain, surrounding critical structures can be damaged in the process of surgical removal of brain tumors, possibly resulting in serious side effects including paralysis, loss of speech and even death. In many instances, the CyberKnife is able to perform such "surgery" completely non-invasively--meaning, without any incisions. As a result, the risk of injury to surrounding structures is minimal, and patients go home the same day.

For many cancer patients, undergoing traditional radiation therapy means daily treatments over several weeks. This is because with traditional radiation therapy, a significant amount of normal tissue is within the field of treatment. To allow these normal tissues to recover, lower doses of radiation must be given over many treatment sessions, and the total amount of radiation is limited. Because the CyberKnife can pinpoint the location of a cancerous tumor with extreme accuracy, one to five treatment sessions are all that are required, with a minimal dose to surrounding normal tissues and, often, a much higher dose to the tumor itself. For more in-depth information about how the CyberKnife works, read "The Science Behind the CyberKnife."

Treatment Planning

The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery system is very different from traditional cancer treatment systems. Here's what to expect if you undergo treatment with the CyberKnife.

Prior to the procedure, your body is "imaged" using a high-resolution CT scan and/or an MRI to determine the size, shape and location of the cancerous tumor. Following scanning, the image data is digitally transferred to the CyberKnife system’s workstation, where the treatment planning begins. While the patient waits, a qualified clinician then uses the CyberKnife software to generate a treatment plan. The plan is used to match the desired radiation dose to the identified tumor location while limiting radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Once the treatment plan has been developed, the patient is ready to undergo the CyberKnife procedure. After the patient is comfortably positioned on the treatment table--in his or her own clothes, not a gown--then the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will slowly move around the patient to the various locations from which it will deliver radiation to the tumor.

Each treatment session lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the type of cancer tumor being treated. If treatment is being delivered in stages, patients will need to return for additional treatments over several days (typically no more than five), as determined by the patient's doctor. Patients may experience some minimal side effects, but those often go away within the first week or two after treatment.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, fill out this short online form or call 650-940-7280.

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CyberKnife Videos

These videos explain how the CyberKnife works, the device's benefits and what forms of cancer it can be used to treat.

CyberKnife: Treatment Overview


CyberKnife: Brain


CyberKnife: Liver-Pancreas

CyberKnife: Lung


CyberKnife: Prostate

CyberKnife: Spine

CyberKnife Animations

CyberKnife Animations Play these digital animations to see the CyberKnife radiation treatment device in (virtual) action.