If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a condition that requires radiation therapy/ radio surgery, you may have heard of two options called CyberKnife and Gamma knife.
Gamma Knife and CyberKnife treatments have some similarities; however, the CyberKnife System is the first dedicated stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatment system that can also be used to give stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for procedures throughout the body.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a treatment that is administered using the CyberKnife System and Gamma Knife to treat malignancies, and non- malignant lesions (benign lesions) vascular lesions, and functional impairments, including pituitary adenoma, meningioma, AVM and trigeminal neuralgia.
Radiation therapy/ Radiosurgery
“CyberKnife and Gamma Knife are both alternatives for cancer patients who do not wish to undergo the risks of surgery. Both treatments are intended to treat recurrent or inoperable brain tumors”, says radiation oncologist Dr. Sridhar PS.
While these treatments are highly effective in treating a range of conditions and various types of tumors and cancers, they have some significant differences.
By understanding the difference between Gamma knife and CyberKnife, you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you or your loved one.
|Non-invasive, the patient lies comfortably while the system moves around them quickly||A large metal framework is fitted with screws to the patient’s head during treatment|
|Anesthesia is not required as it is a painless procedure||Requires mild sedation|
|Can address a tumor in the head, brain, neck, or spine from over 1,400 positions||The gantry-designed Gamma Knife system is restricted to 201 positions|
|CyberKnife can treat cancer in any area of your body in 1 – 5 radiation treatments||Can only address cancer in the brain or cervical spine with a single high-dose radiation treatment|
|Uses a robotic arm to deliver high-energy x-ray beams to the target area||Uses cobalt-60 sources to deliver high doses of gamma radiation|
|Slightly better accuracy due to its ability to track the movement of the tumor in real-time||Highly precise|
|Treatment duration is 15 minutes to several hours||Treatment can last for several hours to a full day|
Radiation specialist Dr. Sridhar PS adds, “CyberKnife can essentially treat tumors from any angle, anywhere in the body, thanks to its flexible robotic architecture, real-time image guidance, and tumor tracking.”
Both Cyberknife and Gamma Knife may cause side effects, such as fatigue, headache, or nausea. In rare cases, they may cause more serious side effects, such as brain swelling or seizures.
There may be some differences in the specific side effects and risks associated with Cyberknife and Gamma Knife. Still, it is difficult to make generalizations because the particular risks and side effects depend on many factors, including the type and location of the brain abnormality being treated, the dose of radiation being used, and the individual patient’s medical history and overall health.
According to cancer specialist, Dr. Sridhar PS, “It is important to discuss all of the potential risks and benefits of these treatments with a qualified medical professional before deciding if they are the right treatment option for you.”
A meningioma is a brain tumor that develops from the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain, and the spinal cord. Meningiomas are typically benign (non-cancerous) but can sometimes be malignant (cancerous). They are the most common type of brain tumor and are more commonly found in women than men.
Both alternatives have definite advantages, but they differ in terms of comfort and precision. The following are some variations between Cyberknife and Gamma Knife:
Brain metastases are cancer cells that have spread to the brain from a primary cancer site elsewhere in the body.
Dr. Sridhar PS explains, “These cancer cells can grow and multiply in the brain, leading to tumors that can damage brain tissue and affect brain function. Brain metastases are a common complication of cancer, and they can occur in many different types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, kidney, and melanoma.”
Cyberknife and gamma knife are two types of radiosurgery that can be used to treat brain metastases. Both techniques involve the use of high-energy VS higher doses of radiation in metastases to destroy cancer cells.
Cyberknife is a type of robotic radiosurgery that uses a linear accelerator to deliver high-energy X-rays to a specific area of the brain. The linear accelerator is mounted on a robotic arm that can move around the patient’s head, allowing the radiation to be delivered from multiple angles. Cyberknife is a non-invasive procedure that does not require an incision, and it can be completed in 1 – 5 sessions, depending on the size and number of tumors.
A Gamma knife uses a specialized machine to deliver a high radiation dose to a specific brain area. The device produces a beam of gamma rays focused on the tumor, destroying the cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Gamma knife is typically a 1-time treatment completed over several hours in 1 day.
Q. Are Gamma Knife and CyberKnife the same thing?
No, gamma knife and cyberknife are two different types of radiosurgery. Both techniques involve the use of high-energy radiation to treat brain tumors and other conditions, but they differ in the way the radiation is delivered.
Q. Is CyberKnife better than radiation?
Cyberknife is more precise in targeting the tumor than traditional radiation therapy. Cyberknife treatment is delivered using a linear accelerator mounted on a robotic arm, which allows the radiation to be delivered from multiple angles. This can be beneficial in cases where the tumor is located in a difficult-to-reach area or where traditional surgery may be riskier. Cyberknife may also have a lower risk of side effects than other types of radiation therapy because it delivers a higher dose of radiation to the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
Q. What is the success rate of CyberKnife?
According to a review of studies published in the journal Cancer, Cyberknife was found to be effective in achieving complete or partial remission around 90% of patients with brain metastases, and it had a median survival rate around 24 months.
In another study published in the journal Radiology, Cyberknife was effective in achieving complete or partial remission in up to 87% of patients with pancreatic cancer, and it had a median survival rate of 11.8 months.
Q. What are the cons of CyberKnife?
Cyberknife can cause side effects like any medical treatment, although they are generally mild and temporary. The most common side effects of Cyberknife include:
Q. Who is a candidate for CyberKnife?
Cyberknife is generally recommended for people with small or medium-sized tumors and certain types of cancer, including brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and prostate cancer.
Cyberknife may be a good option for people who are not candidates for traditional surgery or who may have a higher risk of complications from surgery. It may also be an option for people who have already undergone surgery and need additional treatment to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
Q. What are the disadvantages of Gamma Knife?