STATE-OF-THE-ART RADIATION TECHNOLOGY
The CyberKnife® facility at Winthrop offers patients with otherwise untreatable or inaccessible tumors – both benign and malignant – new hope. It adopts a noninvasive and scientific approach to stereotactic radiosurgery. It takes the treatment of central nervous system tumors and tumors of other sites in the body to new levels. Winthrop’s program has been spearheaded by the Divisions of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology. Conventional stereotactic radiosurgery was until now restricted to treating brain lesions in a single session. With CyberKnife®this is no longer the case.
CyberKnife®employs groundbreaking cruise missile guidance technology to target and track tumors and lesions anywhere in the body with computerized imageguided precision. These views are provided by several X-ray cameras configured with powerful computer software. This continuously updates the target's position during treatment. They feed the images to a the computer-controlled robotic arm that carries an advanced linear accelerator (radiation source) that delivers hundreds of radiation beams to the designated site.
With the data received from the X-rays, the robot is in constant motion. Computers monitor the anatomy, check and recheck the patient's position and compensate for the slightest movements by instantly repositioning the linear accelerator so it can deliver the radiation beams quickly and accurately. On its own, each beam is relatively weak. However, when the beams converge on the target, their power is precise; so precise that physicians can destroy even deeply imbedded tumors and lesions with complex shapes without harming adjacent healthy tissue.
Achieving surgical-like outcomes, CyberKnife®can be an alternative to open surgery. Treatments are performed as outpatients. Anesthesia is unnecessary. There is no blood loss. The complication risk is lowered.
Dr Jeffrey A. Brown is Director of CyberKnife® Neurosurgery at Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, New York.