How CyberKnife® SBRT Works
Despite its name, the CyberKnife® SBRT Robotic Radiosurgery System involves no cutting and offers a non-invasive alternative to surgery for many patients.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivers high doses of radiation in a small number of treatment sessions. CyberKnife SBRT can be completed in five outpatient treatment sessions that take place on consecutive weekdays.
Prior to treatment, small metallic markers are placed in the prostate so the CyberKnife robot can accurately monitor prostate position at all times. The markers are inserted during a procedure similar to a prostate biopsy, through the rectum. About one week after the marker placement, both a CT scan and an MRI are taken. The images are then “merged” using specialized software to provide a clear image of the prostate and neighboring normal tissues (urethra, bladder, rectum and nerve bundles), allowing physicians to create an individualized treatment plan.
CyberKnife SBRT delivers radiation through a robotic arm that allows both flexibility and precision. Pencil thin beams can be directed from potentially thousands of different angles, allowing a high dose of radiation to bombard cancerous cells with great accuracy while minimizing exposure to healthy neighboring tissues.
In addition, CyberKnife SBRT’s unique technology can detect prostate motion during treatment. The CyberKnife robot continuously corrects the aim of the radiation beam when movement is detected. Since the prostate can move without warning and even with respiration, this further ensures accuracy and maximizes the beneficial impact of the treatment.
Each session will last less than one hour and is painless. No urinary catheter is necessary. On treatment days, patients are typically asked to perform an enema prior to the session.
Thanks to the advanced imaging and robotic maneuverability, CyberKnife SBRT allows high doses of radiation to be delivered exactly where they count most – resulting in fewer treatments, decreased recovery time and less damage to healthy areas.
Current research suggests that prostate cancer cells may be more sensitive to high doses of radiation delivered over a limited period of time, in a fewer number of fractions. This represents a potential advantage for CyberKnife SBRT in the treatment of prostate cancer.
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