Treatment Process

The CyberKnife® oncologist will meet with you to discuss your diagnosis and develop a customized treatment plan for your specific diagnosis. You and your loved ones will have time to ask questions and express any concerns. Our team will work with you to obtain all necessary medical records and imaging.

The radiation oncologist will review your diagnosis and medical records, which may include CT or MRI scans, and pathology or biopsy reports. This information will help determine whether pre-treatment procedures are needed for your customized treatment plan. The procedures that may be required as part of your treatment plan, and the order in which they will occur, will be explained at this time.

For your consultation, please bring the following information:

  • Any medical records we have requested that were not previously sent
  • Your insurance card
  • Your driver’s license
  • A list of current medications
  • A list of any questions for your doctor

Your customized CyberKnife treatment plan may require one or more of the following pre-treatment procedures. These will be explained during your consultation.

  • CT Simulation – This is needed for the radiation oncologist and medical physicist to develop your custom treatment plan. Treatment sometimes requires a soft mesh facial mask or customized padding, which is fitted during the CT Simulation process.
  • MRI – The radiation oncologist determines which areas of your body need imaging and whether contrast material is needed. Contrast material is a special dye administered intravenously or orally to help the radiation oncologist locate the treatment area. If you need an MRI with contrast material, the doctor will order a blood test before the scan. This could include common blood tests such as a blood area nitrogen (BUN) test or a creatinine blood test. The test results determine whether your kidneys can flush out the dye on their own or whether you need IV fluids to help flush out the dye.
  • Fiducial Marker Placement – You may need small tissue markers known as fiducials inserted in or near your tumor. These are tiny metal seeds that help the CyberKnife accurately track your tumor or lesion as you breathe during treatment. The markers are inserted through a needle or a bronchoscope during an outpatient appointment depending on the location of your tumor.
  • PET Scan – Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear imaging technique that creates detailed, computerized pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. A PET scan reveals how the body is functioning and uncovers areas of abnormal metabolic activity. During a PET scan, the patient is injected with a glucose (sugar) solution that contains a very small amount of radioactive material. The substance is absorbed by the particular organs or tissues being examined. The PET scanner is then able to “see” damaged or cancerous cells where the glucose is being absorbed because cancer cells often absorb glucose at a higher rate than normal cells.

Depending on your diagnosis and the level of your tumor’s complexity, treatment involves one to five outpatient sessions, each lasting about 30-60 minutes.

On the day of your CyberKnife treatment sessions, please wear comfortable clothing and refrain from wearing jewelry. To make the session as comfortable as possible we offer a wide variety of music choices.

Once you’re positioned for treatment, you will be asked to lie still. The radiation therapist exits the treatment room and your session begins. The CyberKnife’s robotic arm will position itself around your body, delivering radiation directly to your tumor with pinpoint precision. We’ll observe you throughout the treatment on closed-circuit television, and you can pause the session at any time by signaling or speaking to the treatment team.

Once your treatment session is complete, you may resume your normal activities.

Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress, which includes additional testing/imaging and meetings with your physician. Your CyberKnife team will collaborate with your other physicians to develop a custom plan for your post-treatment care.