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What to Expect From CyberKnife Treatment

For patients who have cancer, radiation treatments can seem unfamiliar and even a little bit scary. Don’t worry — Pasadena CyberKnife is here to help show you what to expect during treatment. We understand the CyberKnife treatment system is new to most people, but we want you to feel confident about its safety and effectiveness. We want you to have a full understanding of the technology and the process. Thanks to our board-certified and experienced staff, you can feel confident that you’re in capable, caring hands.

Preparing for CyberKnife Treatment

CyberKnife treatment planning is performed by a team that designs your unique treatment ahead of your first session. Although CyberKnife sounds like surgery, it’s not. It’s a highly precise, non-invasive, and advanced robotics system that delivers high doses of radiation to tumors with pinpoint accuracy. Several specialists, including medical physicists and a radiation oncologist, work together to create a personalized treatment plan just for you. Before your treatment begins, you will be imaged using a high-resolution CT scan, which will determine the size, shape, and location of any tumors.

Following scanning, we digitally transfer the image data to the CyberKnife System’s workstation. From there, our radiation oncologist and medical physicist determine the right radiation dosage and treatment angles for your tumors. They work together, often with a collaborating surgeon, to deliver a powerful radiation dose to the identified tumor location. Their treatment plan is designed to attack cancer cells while limiting radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.

How CyberKnife Is Different From Conventional Radiation Treatment

Even when it feels like you’re being absolutely still, your body is in constant motion. Internal organs, like the bowels, are lined with smooth muscles that are always moving. You also need to breathe, so your lungs inhale and exhale creating further movement within your body. This motion, though completely natural, presents challenges for many conventional radiation treatments.

With standard radiation treatments, doctors are forced to place patients inside compression and immobilization devices designed to keep their bodies perfectly still. One radiation treatment option for brain tumors, for example, requires doctors screw holes into the patient’s skull to mount a head frame.

The CyberKnife System has been designed to deliver effective treatment with maximum comfort for patients. Thanks to real-time imaging, tumor-tracking software, and state-of-the-art robotics, CyberKnife treatment lets you skip those compression devices and immobilization techniques. Because of the CyberKnife’s incredible precision, your team can deliver high-dosage radiation without significant damage to healthy cells. You will be treated on an outpatient basis and return home.

Most patients are able to resume their normal activities on the same day they receive treatment.

On the Day of Your Treatment

If you’re concerned about what to expect from CyberKnife treatment, you can relax. CyberKnife is pain-free, comfortable, and only requires one to five visits to complete your treatment.

Once our team of doctors develops your individual treatment plan, they’ll help you prepare for CyberKnife treatment by positioning you on the comfortable treatment table. You won’t be placed inside any restrictive and uncomfortable immobilization devices. Instead, you’ll be able to relax while the CyberKnife’s robotic arm moves slowly around you.

In addition to using data from your original CT scan, the CyberKnife System takes real-time images of your tumors and runs them through its tumor-tracking software, allowing it to accurately track the minute movement. The intricate robotic arm delivers radiation to the tumor from almost any imaginable angle. When your body moves, the robotic arm makes immediate adjustments. It keeps radiation beams accurate down to the sub-millimeter, preventing damage to healthy tissue. Some patients experience minimal side effects, usually fatigue, but those often go away within the first week or two after treatment.

Because the CyberKnife System operates with sub-millimeter precision, it can deliver powerful radiation dosages to malignant cells while leaving healthy cells undamaged. This accuracy means that instead of coming in for as many as six weeks worth of treatments, most patients only require one to five sessions with CyberKnife. Each treatment session will typically last between 25 and 55 minutes, depending on the type of tumor being treated. You’ll receive treatments delivered in one to five stages, as determined by your CyberKnife treatment planning team.

Schedule Your Treatment Now

Now that you know what to expect from CyberKnife treatment, schedule a consultation with the team at Pasadena CyberKnife. Most insurance companies pay for CyberKnife treatment, but consult with your insurer before making an appointment.

Once you’re at our clinic, we’ll help you every step of the way, starting with preparing for treatment, offering support, and following up to see whether further treatments are necessary. We work with you and your current doctors to ensure that everyone knows what’s happening and how you’re doing.

What Other Patients Have to Say

We’re excited about what CyberKnife has to offer, but don’t just take our word for it. Click here to view our patient testimonials. Then, call 626-768-1021 to schedule your appointment.