Tumors of intracranial location poorly respond to treatment. Classic surgical intervention doesn’t always allow complete removal of the neoplasm. Sometimes, the surgery is associated with the considerable trauma to the brain, which results in the neurological deficiency. Speech, mobility, intelligence suffer along with other functions. If tumor is located in the functionally active brain parts, then surgery is strictly contraindicated because it can be life-threatening to the patient.
Nonetheless, an area of stereotactic surgery has been under development in the past two decades. Surgery helps to remove the small tumors by the directed beam of ionizing radiation. One of the latest techniques of treating hard-to-reach tumors is called Cyber Knife.
What is Cyber Knife?
Cyber Knife is a radio surgical device capable of sending large doses of ionizing radiation with accurate targeting. It consists of a robotic device and a linear accelerator. The unit is equipped with digital radiology cameras.
The method allows removing tumors from hard-to-reach locations, practically without affecting healthy tissues. A Cyber Knife is used to treat benign and malignant tumors of any location.
In practice, most often this device is used to treat such types of cancer as:
- Head and neck
- Pancreas, liver, prostate, kidneys (metastases to the brain, bones, and lungs)
Cyber Knife is widely used in neurology. Arteriovenous malformations, adenomas of the pituitary gland, neurinomas of the auditory nerve, and neuralgia of the trigeminal nerve are treated with the Cyber Knife help.
Treatment course has several stages which are:
- Planning. A treatment plan is being determinedbased on the results of diagnostic studies (computed tomography, PET, MRI).
- Patient’s placement on the treatment table. Hard fixation is not required.
- Control. The device compares the data obtained by digital radiology cameras with the information that was loaded into its memory during the preparation phase.
- Targeting. A robotic arm directs a beam of photons into a zone that will be subjected to treatment.
- Treatment. Radiation beams of photons are directed to the target.
- Repetition. The control and aiming stages are repeated before each stream of a photon beam.
The duration of a radiosurgical treatment session is usually from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Benefits of treatment with the Cyber Knife
The use of Cyber Knife is considered one of the best treatment methods of oncological diseases with the hard-to-reach locations, including bone, spine, brain, lungs metastases.
The main advantages of using a Cyber Knife are:
- Possibility of treatment ofinoperable tumors.
- Minimum dose of radiation on healthy tissues.
- Significant increase in the radiation dose due to the accuracy of the guidance (up to tenths of a millimeter).
- Brain tumors are not required to undergo irradiation courses for several weeks, as with conventional radiation therapy. 1 to 5 sessions are sufficient.
- Due to the high accuracy of stereotactic guidance, a Cyber Knife can remove tumors located in the functionally active regions of the brain.
- Unlike a gamma knife, a rigid fixation of the patient is not required. Therefore, the method is convenient for the treatment of cancer in children.
- Removes tumors larger than the gamma-knife is able to do (up to 5 cm, and sometimes up to 6-7 cm in diameter).
- Ability to combine with surgery and traditional irradiation.
- Precise targeting of the lung tumor without restricting the patient's breathing.
- No pain. Hence, no need for anesthesia.
- There is no long-term rehabilitation, as after surgical intervention. After using a Cyber Knife, patient can return to the usual lifestyle on the same day.
Benefits of treatment in Germany
Treating tumors with the help of Cyber Knife in Germany has a number of benefits. They manifest themselves in the following:
- High-precision diagnostics. The latest methods of research help to point at the accurate tumor location and detect metastases, if any. Metastases can be further removed with the Cyber Knife, thus prolonging and improving patient’s quality of life.
- Use of modern Cyber Knife units. The first such unit appeared back in 1990, and was introduced into medical practice in 1994. Since then, it has been improved many times. Equipment is constantly being updated in German hospitals. Cyber Knife units work only a few years, then are changed to new, improved ones. Although, the technique of removing tumors with the help of cyber-knife is being practiced, radiosurgical devices used are often outdated there. At the same time, the price of treatment remains at the same level.
- The use of Cyber Knife in combination with other techniques. All areas of oncology are well developed in Germany. Here, hard-to-locate tumors are treated not only by radiosurgical methods. The latest high-tech surgical operations, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy are used as well. The combination of several methods allows you to achieve better treatment results.
German hospitals to refer for Cyber Knife treatment
Cyber Knife is considered a more progressive technology of tumor treatment than gamma-knife. This is more expensive method, that’s why it is applied in fewer hospitals.
However, there are several health care centers in Germany where they use this way of radio surgical impact.
- Munich-Grossharden Cyber Knife European Center uses the latest radiosurgical Cyber Knife units. Center has a new multi-petalled collimator at its disposal. Since 2005, this center has conducted more than 6 thousand operations using a cyber-knife.
- Cologne University Hospital. This clinic has a modern Cyber Knife center. This is a medical institution of the highest scientific level. Here, the latest technologies are used to treat oncological diseases, which includes a cybernetic knife that allows the removal of small tumors by a non-invasive method.
Arrangement of treatment in Germany
There is every opportunity for effective treatment of tumors of various locations with the help of a Cyber Knife in Germany. But not every patient can go for treatment there alone.
A lot of time, effort and material resources are required for the arrangement of the trip, because a person needs to:
- Find a hospital
- Make a proper arrangements with hospital administration
- Apply for a visa
- Obtain insurance for foreign patients
- Find and book a hotel for an accompanying person
- Translate medical documentation into German
- While in Germany –patient needs to find the site; find an interpreter to communicate with medical staff
Employees of Booking Health are ready to take care of all these concerns. We will help you to choose a hospital, issue the documents, translate statements and epicrisis into German. We will book a hotel for you, meet at the German airport and take you to the hospital, we will provide an interpreter to communicate with the clinical staff of the medical institution.
Thanks to the services of Booking Health, you can save up to 70% of the costs on treatment. You will receive insurance that will cover unplanned costs in the event of complications of up to 200 thousand Euros within 48 months. After completion of the treatment, the doctor will advise you for free follow up visit within 3 months.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova