Dallas, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — With the first installation of the Swedish invention the Gamma Knife in 1968, over 500,000 patients have been treated with Gamma Knife. Gamma Knife is stereotactic radiosurgery. Stereotactic refers to the 3D reference frame that is attached to the patient’s head. Radiosurgery uses a single large dose of radiation to stunt the reproduction of cancer cells thus eliminating the cancer. Gamma Knife’s surgical precision allows the surrounding healthy tissue to be unharmed. Before the treatment, the patient undergoes imaging procedures to map the alignment of the tumor with the patient’s body and to determine the size and shape of the tumor. An MRI or CT scan will be the method of the imaging process. After the image procedure, the images are sent digitally to a workstation where the physician observes the size, location and shape of the tumor. Afterwards, an appropriate treatment plan is made for the patient. Before the delivery of the radiosurgery, the stereotactic head-gear is attached to the patient’s head and the patient is administered anesthesia. The head frame allows the patient to remain immobile during the procedure. Once the patient has the head frame on, the patient will then lie down flat on a platform with the patient’s head in a column that tilts in order to reach the targeted areas. Recovery time from this procedure is minimal. Patients usually return home the same day after the procedure was completed.
In 2001 a new device called CyberKnife was approved by the FDA to treat tumors anywhere in the body. This new device provides a non-invasive procedure to treat tumors that are in-operable by traditional open-surgery. Unlike Gamma Knife, CyberKnife does not require the use of stereotactic gear because of its robotic arm that positions itself according to the patient’s placement. It also re-corrects itself according to the patient’s movements during the procedure. The steps involved before the procedure are the same as with the Gamma Knife. Before the procedure the patient will undergo a CT scan or an MRI to attain images of the size, shape and location of the tumor. The images are then observed by physicians to identify the tumor and the clinicians proceed to make a treatment plan for the patient. During the treatment, the patient lies on a platform that moves according to the treatment plan and the robotic arm moves in all directions of the tumor to eliminate it. Individually, the rays are very weak but when the rays gather at the targeted point, they are very powerful and yet the device still manages to leave the surrounding healthy tissue undamaged. The recovery time with Cyber Knife is very short just as it is with Gamma Knife.
There have been many successful procedures in both Cyber Knife and Gamma Knife procedures. However it appears that the newer Cyber Knife is much more convenient to the patient and it is more effective. The mobile robotic arm is a big difference from the Gamma Knife and it is the key reason why Cyber Knife is much better. Since the Cyber Knife excludes the head frame, patients can avoid the dizziness, headaches, or discomfort that result from the device. The Cyber Knife’s ability to re-correct the alignment of the imaging as soon as the patient moves is incredible. This attribute makes the procedure carry on with ease. Overall, the Cyber Knife is an intelligent piece of technology and a wonderful option for many patients with benign or malignant tumors.
For more information visit the following links:
Gamma Knife: http://gammaknife.org
Cyber Knife developed by: -http://www.accuray.com
Education: CyberKnife Blog