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What happens in a CyberKnife surgery?

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Quick Answer

CyberKnife radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy in which a robotic arm delivers radiation energy on a targeted area of the body, according to MedlinePlus. CyberKnife radiosurgery is not a surgical operation and it does not require any incisions.

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Full Answer

Doctors commonly use CyberKnife treatment for tumors, though it is also possible to apply the method to other conditions, says Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The CyberKnife system receives information about the problem area from a CT scan, and doctors form an appropriate treatment plan using the CyberKnife workstation. The patient then lies on a table and the robotic arm moves around to begin the procedure.

CyberKnife radiation beams have extremely high levels of accuracy and can come from almost any direction, states Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The treatment is capable of focusing on a tiny problem area to minimize damage to surrounding healthy tissues. The CyberKnife system also adjusts itself to accommodate the patient's breathing cycle and tumor movement.

CyberKnife radiosurgery is not painful, and it does not require the use of anesthetics, explains MedlinePlus. A computer controls the robotic arm, but the doctor can see the patient on a camera, and the two parties are able to communicate with microphones. Treatment time is usually 30 minutes to two hours. Patients do not generally require more than five treatment sessions.

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