Frequently Asked Questions About CyberKnife

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Frequently Asked Questions About CyberKnife


  1. What is stereotactic radiosurgery?

    Stereotactic radiosurgery precisely delivers large doses of radiation to tumors and other lesions in the body with minimal irradiation of surrounding healthy tissue. This noninvasive treatment is an effective alternative to surgery or conventional radiation for many small tumors and other select medical disorders.

    The CyberKnife, which was first used to treat patients in 1994, represents an advanced method of performing stereotactic radiosurgery.

  2. How does the CyberKnife work?

    The CyberKnife is composed of a compact linear accelerator mounted on a robotic arm. The robotic arm moves the linear accelerator sequentially around the patient's body to multiple precalculated positions around the patient. At each "position," the linear accelerator delivers a beam of radiation at the tumor or lesion. Periodically, image-guidance cameras verify the position of the target. Any change in target position related to patient movement is detected and automatically compensated for by the robot. Thus, optimal accuracy is ensured throughout treatment. The convergence of all the beams (typically 100 to150) at the tumor or lesion results in a high, cumulative dose of radiation strong enough to destroy the abnormal cells while minimizing radiation damage to surrounding normal tissue.

  3. How is the CyberKnife system different from other stereotactic radiosurgery systems?

    The CyberKnife is the only system to combine a linear accelerator, robotic arm, and image-guidance system. The robotic arm allows the CyberKnife to target lesions any place in the body with great precision. The CyberKnife is also unique in its ability to continually monitor and adjust in near real-time for changes in target location during treatment. Finally, unlike most other stereotactic radiosurgery systems, the CyberKnife is able to locate and treat lesions in the head without the need for an invasive head frame.

  4. What is the CyberKnife system used to treat?

    The CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System is used to treat vascular abnormalities, malignant and benign tumors, and cancers anywhere in the body including the brain, spine, chest, and abdomen.

  5. Is CyberKnife treatment covered by my insurance?

    Stereotactic radiosurgery treatment of many diseases is usually covered by Medicare as well as by most private insurance companies.


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For more information, please call 1-800-BARROW1 (227-7691) or 602-406-6281.

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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000