15 helpful answers to Cyberknife:

What is radiosurgery?

Radiosurgery is the high-precision and high-dose irradiation of a precisely defined target volume (tumor). It is usually performed in a session lasting about 30 minutes. Radiosurgery involves treating tumors in the head or body. The tumor cells are killed by this method.

How exactly is the tumor destroyed?

The radiation unit revolves around the patient - typically 150 - 250 (out of 3,000 possible) radiation directions during treatment. The rays intersect in the tumor so that the tumor-destroying dose is reached there. Due to the highly concentrated radiation, the diseased cells are "biologically switched off" by damaging their genome (DNA), while the healthy surrounding tissue is spared to the utmost.

How does a tumor react after Cyberknife treatment?

Cyberknife treatment (radiosurgery) "fires" a tumor from many different directions with high-energy light particles (photons). Central to the tumor comes the effective dose. Only diseased cells are reached and destroyed in their genetic structure - the tumor dies. In the period of a few weeks to months, it forms back. In rare cases, the tumor swells after treatment. This is mostly temporary and is easy to control.

How often is a cyberknife treatment repeatable?

As a rule, an application is sufficient to successfully switch off the tumor. Depending on the type and localization, the treatment can be divided into one to five sessions. If further tumors or metastases are formed in the body, Cyberknife therapy can be used again. The Cyberknife technology works so precisely that the administered dose only reaches the tumor and spares surrounding tissue, organs or nerves.

Which tumors and lesions can be treated with Cyberknife?

The Cyberknife System is designed for radiosurgical treatment of tumors and lesions throughout the body. The current range of therapies includes the following diseases of the head: acoustic neuromas / vestibular schwannomas, meningiomas, angiomas - arteriovenous malformations (AVM), metastases, trigeminal neuralgia and choroidal melanomas.

In the body and organs Cyberknife is also used: prostate (prostate cancer), spine / spinal cord (metastases, spinal neurinomas, spinal meningiomas), lung (bronchial carcinoma stage I / II, metastases), liver (primary hepatocellular carcinoma, metastases), kidneys ( Renal cell, urothelial carcinomas).

Is the treatment always "non-invasive"?

As a rule, cyberknife treatment is always non-invasive. However, prior to treatment of some respiratory (e.g., lung) or moving organs (e.g., prostate), gold tags may need to be placed in the tumor tissue to localize the tumor in local anesthesia. The gold markers are used to guide the route during the treatment.

Are there any side effects with Cyberknife therapy?

Cyberknife therapy is a very gentle method. It usually has no or only minor, temporary side effects depending on the tumor. Details are discussed according to the individual situation in personal conversation with the patient before treatment.

How safe is cyberknife therapy?

The Cyberknife always hits exactly the tumor - the healthy tissue is optimally protected. A precision robot accurately places the high dose of radiosurgical drugs from many directions in the tumor. Movements of the target volume (tumor) are recorded via an image location system and compensated by the robot. In the case of breathable tumors, a 3D camera additionally picks up the external breathing in order to dynamically track the beam to the target - the robot "breathes" with it.

What are the treatment benefits for the patient?

In general, cyberknife therapy has many benefits for the patient, these are:

  • no rehabilitation
  • no surgery
  • no pain
  • no head frame
  • no anesthesia
  • no hospitalization
  • no risk of bleeding or infection
  • quick return to the usual everyday life
  • short treatment time compared to conventional radiotherapy

What advantages does Cyberknife technology offer in tumor treatment?

The Cyberknife of the most modern generation "M6" combines highest precision with flexibility. The beam can be formed using different diaphragm systems (round, variable iris and multi-leaf collimators). Depending on the size, location and position of the tumor we select the right system. This allows us to achieve even higher quality with shorter treatment time - to the benefit of the patient.

How often does it happen that cyberknife treatment is unsuccessful?

The indications for cyberknife therapy are very strict. The tumor must not exceed a certain size and must be locally limited. The fact that a treatment with the Cyberknife is suitable, for each case individually and exactly medically checked. If there is an indication for cyberknife therapy, the success rate is very high. The treatment spectrum is continuously adapted to scientific progress, so it is important to examine every individual patient situation.

Are the treatment costs covered by the insurance?

With a large part of the health insurance companies there are direct agreements to cover the costs of a cyberknife treatment. These include e.g. the AOK Bayern, the Barmer GEK, the LKK, the German BKK, the KKH and most of the Bavarian BKKs. There are also corresponding agreements for privately insured patients.

Does a patient have to meet certain requirements in order to be treated with Cyberknife?

In individual cases, it is examined exactly whether the strict indication criteria are met and a Cyberknife therapy is suitable. Otherwise, no special precautions need to be taken. Cyberknife may be especially suitable for patients who, for example, are unable to perform an operation or should be prevented by other risk factors.

How much time does a patient need to schedule for treatment, e.g. if he comes from another city or abroad?

How often should he come to aftercare?

Is it sufficient for the aftercare, if he sends current MRI or CT findings by post for evaluation?

Cyberknife therapy is an outpatient procedure. Depending on the indication, usually three to five days should be scheduled for the entire therapy duration. The treatment process includes a first job interview, imaging, treatment planning, precision irradiation, and a final exam. Outpatient check-ups are recommended as after any medical procedure. They can be carried out at home or in the home country and the current findings can be transmitted to us.

What new trends can be observed in cyberknife treatment (based on new indications, new technical development)?

The cyberknife technology for tumor treatment is being continuously developed. This technical progress guarantees patients the highest standard of medical and technical care. Especially in Cyberknife Zentrum München we use the most modern Cyberknife technology with the M6®. Thus, significantly shorter treatment times can be achieved with consistent safety and tumor control. Overall, cyberknife therapy is increasingly establishing itself. It continues to gain meaningful long-term results. Cyberknife has been used here in Munich since 2005. We ensure a successful therapy of benign and malignant tumors through state-of-the-art technology as well as excellent radiosurgical experience and scientific knowledge.

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