Patient Education

  • Step 1: Preparation for Treatment
    For spinal and body treatments, a short outpatient procedure may be required to implant 3-6 small metal markers (fiducials) near the lesion. The fiducials enable the CyberKnife System to track the target during treatment. The patient may also undergo an MRI or PET Scan.
  • Step 2: Set Up
    A custom soft mask (for head/neck treatments) or a body mold is formed in a simple painless process during the set up. While fitted with the mask or body mold, the patient undergoes a CT scan and/or an MRI. The set up will be scheduled a minimum of 7 days after fiducial placement. The process usually takes several hours.
  • Step 3: Treatment Planning
    The images obtained during the set up are downloaded to the CyberKnife treatment-planning computer where physicians use advanced software to customize the number, intensity, and direction of radiation beams the robot will send to the target. The patient does not need to be present during this step, which can take between 3 days and one week.
  • Step 4: Painless Treatment
    On the treatment table the patient is fitted with the custom mask or body mold made earlier during the set up process. Generally, no sedation or anesthesia is required. The CyberKnife robot will move slowly around the patient and deliver the radiation. The imaging system verifies target position during the treatment to ensure the radiation is delivered accurately to the lesion.
  • Completion
    For single-session radiosurgery treatment may take several hours to deliver. Once treatment is completed, the patient will be observed for a few hours before returning home and resuming normal activities. For staged or fractionated treatment, the patient will return for additional sessions—between 3-5 daily treatments. Each treatment may take 30-90 minutes. After the first treatment the patient will be observed for a few hours before returning home. Patients will be able to go home immediately after subsequent treatments.
  • Follow-up
    Follow-up imaging and physician consultation are required to monitor the progress of the tumor or lesion.

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