CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery


What is CyberKnife?

CyberKnife® is a type of radiosurgery used to treat complex cancer tumors that can’t be surgically removed. It produces similar results to traditional surgery, but without an incision. CyberKnife uses precisely targeted beams to deliver high doses of radiation to tumors.

CyberKnife delivers radiation with extreme accuracy using robotics and built-in image guidance. It moves and bends around your body at thousands of angles, concentrating radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue. A motion-management system keeps the radiation on target even if you breathe, cough or move your muscles.

Mercy uses CyberKnife to treat cancers in the head, neck, spine, lung, prostate, liver and pancreas, and certain gynecologic tumors. It’s used for both intracranial (head and brain) and extracranial (outside the skull) tumors and abnormal tissues. CyberKnife enables Mercy radiation oncologists to target brain cancer tumors while minimizing the impact on critical brain structures. And some prostate cancer patients can be treated in just a few radiosurgery sessions instead of several weeks of radiation therapy.

Depending on the type of cancer tumor, CyberKnife can take from one day to a few weeks—a significantly shorter timeframe than traditional radiation therapy. And CyberKnife offers other benefits:

  • It’s a non-invasive, pain-free treatment
  • These outpatient procedures require no anesthesia
  • Healthy tissues and organs are better protected
  • You won’t need to hold your breath or use respiratory-gating breathing techniques
  • You can return to normal activity the same day

CyberKnife has been approved by the FDA to treat certain operable, inoperable and surgically complex tumors.

CyberKnife Procedure & Treatment Planning

Your Mercy care team will include your surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, physicist, the CyberKnife team and other clinical professionals.

Before your CyberKnife procedure, you'll have a CT simulation to determine the size, shape and location of the tumor. The CT simulation is also used to create a custom immobilization mask (for brain tumors) or a body mold to help minimize movements and enhance your comfort. Additional imaging such as an MRI or PET scan may also be needed.

Your images are digitally transferred to CyberKnife’s system, where an individualized treatment plan is created.

Wear comfortable clothing, and don’t wear any jewelry. You’ll be comfortably positioned on the treatment table as the CyberKnife’s robotic arm slowly moves around your body in various locations to deliver radiation to the tumor.

Your CyberKnife session will last from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your type of cancer tumor. If your treatment is delivered in stages, you’ll return for additional treatments over several days, based on your doctor’s instructions.

After you leave the CyberKnife suite, you can typically resume normal activities the same day or soon after. Additional imaging may be needed after your CyberKnife treatments, as directed by your Mercy doctor.

What’s the Difference Between Gamma Knife & CyberKnife?

Like CyberKnife, Gamma Knife isn’t traditional surgery and doesn’t require an incision. It’s another type of radiosurgery that uses hundreds of beams at once to deliver a high dose of radiation. And it usually requires only one treatment session. Gamma Knife is also a non-invasive outpatient procedure. You’ll likely be released a few hours after treatment and can resume regular activities the same day.

Gamma knife was developed specifically to treat cancerous and non-cancerous conditions of the brain. It’s been used for more than 40 years worldwide with positive results.

Gamma Knife has fewer moving parts to make sure the high dose of radiation is delivered accurately. A head frame is used to minimize movement, and the table you’re positioned on adjusts to target the treatment area. Depending on your condition, treatment can last from 15 minutes to a couple of hours.

CyberKnife Robotic System Offers Cancer Patients an Alternative for Treatment

Watch this video from Mercy on this powerful alternative to traditional cancer treatment.

cyberknife-at-pratt The CyberKnife is a fully robotic radiation delivery system.

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