By Dr. Aditya Gupta,
Cyberknife has emerged as one of the latest inventions useful for treating all types of tumors (benign and malignant). Being a non-invasive radiation therapy, it is the most advanced tool for treatment of all types of tumors anywhere in the body. AThe therapy works on the principle that high dose of precise high frequency radiation is targeted on the tumor site and without affecting or harming the adjoining healthy tissues and cells. The treatment uses a sophisticated imaging system which guides high beam directly to the tumor.
“It is a no pain, no risk and 100% safe procedure that usually take half an hour session. Being a day care procedure requirement for hospital stay is eliminated and the patient recovery is quicker in comparison to any other conventional therapy. The most important aspect of the therapy is that the radiations can reach upto any depth which otherwise would be impossible to reach through conventional or open surgeries.”
The CyberKnife radiation therapy has clinically proven success rates, however, it works the best for tumors upto which are 2-2.5 cm in size. However, in a few rare cases it is also used as a treatment option to cure brain tumors that either cannot be operated because of their location in the head, or the patients who cannot undergo brain tumor surgery due to their poor medical condition, etc.
Cyber Knife Vs conventional Gamma Knife
For brain tumor or cancer patients, Gamma Knife treatment is not as convenient or comfortable, largely because Gamma Knife requires an invasive head frame be bolted into the skull. Compared to this, the CyberKnife is a non-invasive, real-time motion tracking technology for accurate delivery of high-dose radiation therapy. Instead of a bulky head frame, CyberKnife patients are provided with a soft, mesh mask during the treatment. Moreover, treatment with CyberKnife is flexible; imaging is performed few days in advance, thereby leaving the radiation oncologist with enough time to design and finalise a customised treatment plan. Once the plan is set in place, the patient will return for a non-invasive, pain-free experience. Using advanced tumor-tracking technology, the CyberKnife system is able to either deliver one single high-dose treatment or smaller doses (upto 5) over the course of two to five days. This approach limits side effects and enables most patients to return to their regular routine the same day. Additionally, clinical studies have shown that patients with certain cancerous and non-cancerous conditions in the brain, neck and spine have a better outcome with a lower dose of two to five fractionated radiation treatments than a single, large dose.
Future of Cyberknife
Cyberknife is a surgical device that uses combination of robotics and sophisticated image-guidance technology. The new model is pain free, safe and the most comfortable radiology treatment available in India. The earlier version of Cyberknife treatment involves a stereotactic mask which covers the face of the patient whereas the latest Cyberknife M6 comes with the mask where the patient can breathe and see through it. The mask used for the cyberknife treatment is very painful because the four pins of the frame into the skull of the patient. Cyberknife M6 is series is more like mobile radiation head which shoots individual beam of radiation. Patients with claustrophobia can be easily treated. Cyberknife m6 treatment can be performed within 45 minutes just like CT Scans, MRI, but the same procedure in traditional style i.e. gamma knife will take 2.5 hours.
“The most common type of tumors like which can be treated with Cyberknife are acouste neuroma, ademonas, and other benign tumors. The m6 version of Cyberknife is highly precise who have larger or more irregular shape tumors which are resistant to conventional radiation. It also helps in cases where surgical tumor is inaccessible. In many western countries out of 100 cases 40 requires radiation for the deposit. However in our country, every case of tumor goes for full brain radiation which has several side effects like memory loss, forgetfulness, mental and behavioral changes. So Cyberknife M6 is a boon for those patients”.
In a time of five years or so the detection of tumors would be made easily and at an early stage. Many physicians are not aware about the latest advancements but they would be sooner or later. With more health insurance penetration this treatment would be available to larger sections people and expected to be cheaper.
******Dr. Aditya Gupta, Director Cyberknife Neurosurgery, Agrim Institute for Neurosciences, Artemis Hospital- Gurgaon.
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