Cyber Knife is a modern treatment method which allows to remove volumetric formations in hard-to-reach areas of the human body (brain, lungs) without using any surgical access. This is a kind of radiation therapy which is characterized by high precision of radiation focusing. Tissues with pathological changes receive high dose of radiation during the single procedure, while healthy tissues are practically not affected. Let's talk about diseases that can be treated with the Cyber Knife technology.
Which conditions besides tumors can be treated with Cyber Knife?
In the vast majority of cases Cyber Knife is used for treatment of malignant tumors. Cyber Knife Systems are purchased by oncological centers, because they serve for one of radiation therapy types performing.
However, with the help of this method it is possible to treat not only malignant neoplasms in the hard-to-reach areas, but also other pathologies, such as:
These are pathological connections of veins and arteries. They are often detected in the brain. A vascular "bag" is formed and may gradually expand. Blood accumulates in it. Arteriovenous malformations are very dangerous. If a malformation reaches large size, it may compress nearby brain structures and cause neurological symptoms. But the main danger consists in the possibility of arteriovenous malformation rupture, which can lead to the life-threatening hemorrhage. Therefore, treatment is required in case of the pathology detection.
A surgical method can be used for removing of arteriovenous malformation. But often they are located in hard-to-reach areas. Open surgeries are very traumatic. Endovascular interventions are not always possible. Cyber Knife is used exactly in such cases.
Effectiveness of this method depends on the number of factors:
- Localization of the malformation
- Size of the malformation
- Hemodynamic characteristics
- Interrelation with neighboring neurovascular structures
Due to the high precision of irradiation, there is no risk of damaging vital structures of the brain or optic nerves. Irradiation is carried out in low doses, in one or two procedures. Effectiveness of the treatment is quite high. Even large malformations of more than 5 cm can be removed. Up to 70% of patients are completely cured after the first procedure – the obliteration of malformation is observed (it means, that the blood does not pass through it anymore, therefore there is no risk of rupture). It occurs within 3 years after the first treatment session. If necessary, a doctor conducts the second session of irradiation. Total effectiveness of two procedures within 25 months of observation after the second irradiation is 92%.
The mechanism of Cyber Knife action includes damage of blood vessels walls by ionizing irradiation. Damaged vascular wall launches the proliferative processes. As a result, pathologic vessels gradually inosculate, and the blood flow through them stops.
2. Pituitary gland diseases - Pituitary Adenoma.
The pituitary gland produces a number of hormones. Sometimes their amount becomes too excessive. As a result, endocrine diseases develop. Often, benign tumors such as adenomas can be detected in the pituitary gland in case of hormone hyperproduction. Sometimes there is no large tumor, but biologically active substances are still produced in the excessive amounts. In this case, doctor may suspect pituitary microadenoma.
The main hormones production of which can be increased include:
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The thyroid function is stimulated and thyrotoxicosis arises in case of the initial increase of thyroid-stimulating hormone level.
- The adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) causes Cushing's disease if it is produced in excessively large amount.
- Growth hormone. Excessive production of the growth hormone in the childhood causes gigantism, in the adulthood it leads to acromegaly development.
- Prolactin. Hyperprolactinemia leads to infertility and many other unpleasant symptoms in both men and women.
Sometimes hyperproduction of gonadotropins, namely, follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones, can also be detected. At first, drugs are prescribed for treatment of all these diseases. If medicamentous correction of the endocrine profile is not possible, then the surgical treatment is performed. Cyber Knife is used as a safer alternative to conventional interventions. Irradiation destroys hormone-producing cells of the pituitary gland and allows to reduce level of hormones to the normal values. Clinical remission lasts from 2 to 7 years. In some cases, the pathology can be cured for good. If a relapse occurs, then irradiation of the pituitary gland can be repeated.
In case of trigeminal neuralgia a person constantly suffers from severe pain. Pain can be so severe that it influences night sleep. Even narcotic analgesics do not always help.
Cyber Knife helps to solve the problem. A single irradiation of the area, where the trigeminal nerve exits the brain stem, is performed. Although this nerve has mixed function, it is both sensitive and motor, only sensitive fibers are subject to the irradiation.
A small area of 4 to 6 mm is irradiated. Healthy tissues are not affected. The procedure is performed once using a dose from 60 to 80 Gy. After that the pain syndrome is reduced or eliminated completely.
Benefits of the Cyber Knife
Cyber Knife has certain advantages over the other methods of irradiation, including Gamma Knife. This method of treatment has the highest accuracy. The high-dose irradiation is created only in certain parts of the human body. The neighboring healthy tissues receive less than 10% of the entire therapeutic dose of radiation.
The exposure accuracy reaches tenths of a millimeter. It is possible to remove tumors or vascular malformations of a larger size with the help of Cyber Knife comparing to Gamma Knife.
- There is no need to fix patient's head with the stereotactic frame.
- Anesthesia is not required as the intervention is absolutely painless.
- Treatment planning after patient’s body part scanning is carried out without his participation.
- Hospitalization is not required. A patient leaves the clinic immediately after the procedure.
- When the irradiation zone is shifted during the procedure, photon beam is automatically redirected.
- Monitoring of patient's position and photon beam targeting are repeated before each ionizing radiation impulse.
- The maximum error of targeting does not exceed 0.5 millimeter.
- There is no blood loss or pain.
- Irradiation of several tumors or other formations can be performed during a single procedure.
With the help of Cyber Knife doctor can remove formations up to 6 cm in diameter. At the same time, loss of surrounding healthy tissues is no more than 0.1-0.3 mm from the edge of a tumor or arteriovenous malformation.
Where is it possible to receive such treatment?
Treatment with Cyber Knife can be performed in several European clinics, including the following medical institutions:
The European Cyber knife Centre Munich-Grosshadern works since 2005 in the German city of Munich. Since the opening of center, more than 6.000 operations with the help of Cyber Knife have been carried out here.
The Cyber Knife Center Cologne works as part of the University Hospital Cologne, Germany. It specializes in the treatment of oncological diseases. It ranks among the top hospitals in the country according to the Focus magazine.
The Medicana International Ankara Hospital has the Department of Radiation Oncology, Nuclear Medicine and Cyber Knife System. It offers comprehensive treatment programs for patients with oncological diseases at the affordable prices.
On the official website of the company Booking Health, you will find detailed information about all specialized clinics which successfully perform the Cyber Knife therapy. When planning a treatment abroad, the company Booking Health offers help in such important aspects:
- Choosing the right clinic based on the annual qualification profile
- Establishing communication directly with your doctor
- Preparing medical program in advance, without repeating previous examinations
- Providing favorable costs, without overpricing and additional coefficients for foreign patients (saving up to 50%)
- Booking the appointment on the necessary date
- Monitoring medical program at all stages
- Help in buying and forwarding of medicines
- Communication with the clinic after treatment completion
- Control of invoices and return of unspent funds
- Organization of additional examinations
- Offering service of the highest level: booking hotels and plane tickets, transfer organization
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova
Photo: (c) shutterstock