Patients with spinal cord tumors or cancer that has spread to the limbs may benefit from the use of CyberKnife, which is now available at the Rothman Specialty Hospital in Bensalem, Bucks County. CyberKnife is an advanced radiation system that destroys tumors and other lesions without the use of open surgery.
“Patients traditionally require whole-region radiation, but that approach can damage surrounding healthy cells along with the diseased cells – something that is a concern when working around the spine,” says Alexander Vaccaro, MD, PhD, a spine surgeon at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.
“In contrast, CyberKnife allows us to target just the tumors while largely sparing healthy cells.”
CyberKnife uses a combination of computers, image-guided cameras and robotic technology to concentrate radiation directly at tumor cells from more than 1,400 different angles. Images are taken throughout the procedure to track any movement of the patient or tumor in real time, continually readjusting the delivery of the radiation beam for accuracy.
Key advantages of CyberKnife include:
- The ability to target tumors that have been considered unreachable by surgery or conventional radiation
- Pain-free treatments that involve no anesthesia, incisions or blood loss
- No uncomfortable head or body frames
- A respiratory tracking system that eliminates the need for patients to hold their breath during treatment
- Immediate return to normal activity
CyberKnife has been approved to treat both primary and metastatic tumors located in the spine, lung, brain, prostate, pancreas, liver, head and neck.