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Patient Guide to CyberKnife® Treatment

Austin CyberKnife, a department of University Medical Center Brackenridge, treats patients with a nonsurgical method called stereotactic radiosurgery. Learn more about the treatment process and call (512) 324-8060 to find out if CyberKnife® treatment is right for you.

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Patient Guide to CyberKnife® Treatment

  1. 1. Knowledge Is Power. Know Your Options. Patient Guide to CyberKnife® Treatment Created by Austin CyberKnife, a department of University Medical Center Brackenridge (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  2. 2. CyberKnife Treatment: Overview The CyberKnife® treats patients with a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating tumors with high-dose radiation precisely aimed from different angles. It is the world’s only robotic radiosurgery system, comprised of a compact linear accelerator – a machine that generates a radiation beam – attached to a highly maneuverable robotic arm. While the name may conjure images of knives and scalpels, CyberKnife treatment does not require surgery. Treatment is painless and noninvasive, so there’s no cutting or anesthesia required. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  3. 3. CyberKnife Treatment: Overview CyberKnife destroys cancerous and benign tumors with high-dose, highly accurate radiation beams while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. This pinpoint accuracy allows our physicians to treat difficult-to-reach tumors that may have been impossible to treat in the past. By delivering high-dose radiation from precise angles, CyberKnife also significantly reduces treatment time for the patient. With CyberKnife, the duration of treatment is reduced to one to five treatments over a course of one to two weeks, depending on the size, location and type of tumor. In contrast, traditional radiation therapy is typically delivered for five days a week over a period of six to eight weeks. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  4. 4. CyberKnife Treatment: Overview Most patients go home right after CyberKnife treatment and immediately resume normal activities. There may be side effects, such as fatigue, but these are usually minor and temporary. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  5. 5. CyberKnife Treatment: Quick Links How Does CyberKnife Work? click me Why Choose CyberKnife? click me Treatment Comparisons click me (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  6. 6. Before Treatment Call Austin CyberKnife to begin the process of determining whether you’re a candidate for CyberKnife treatment. Based on the initial conversation, we’ll schedule a personal consultation within the following two to four days. You’ll meet with a member of our physician team, and a decision will be made whether CyberKnife treatment is right for you. Listed below are some procedures that may be performed prior to your CyberKnife treatment. Every treatment plan is different, and not all of these initial steps are necessary for every patient. The procedures required as part of your individualized treatment plan, and the order in which they will occur, will be explained during your consultation visit. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  7. 7. Before Treatment CT Simulation A CT scan is needed prior to beginning CyberKnife treatment. Even if you recently had a CT scan as part of your diagnosis, a new one will be needed in order for the radiation oncologist and physicist to develop your customized treatment plan. Some patients may need a soft mesh mask or body cradle molded from a lightweight material that helps in the CyberKnife treatment process. The fitting is painless and is completed as part of the CT scan process. MR Imaging Sometimes special imaging procedures, such as an MRI, are needed in addition to the CT Scan. Your radiation oncologist will write specific directions on areas of your body that need to be imaged. The radiation oncologist also determines whether this procedure requires contrast material, a special dye put in your body that helps the radiologist locate the treatment area on your radiology films. Contrast material is available in IV and oral forms. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  8. 8. Before Treatment Laboratory Studies The MRI procedure may require contrast material. If you need an MRI with contrast, we need to determine whether your kidneys can flush the dye out of your body. Your physician will order what’s known as a “BUN” and a creatinine blood test. The test results determine whether your kidneys can handle the dye on their own or if you need IV fluids to help flush out the dye. Tissue Markers Depending on your individual case, you may need small tissue markers known as fiducials implanted in or near the tumor site. Fiducials help the CyberKnife system precisely target the treatment area. A physician implants the fiducials in or near the tumor site in a brief outpatient procedure. We will schedule this procedure and provide instructions for preparation. If needed, fiducial placement takes place prior to the CT scan. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  9. 9. During Treatment Patients are asked to wear comfortable clothing during CyberKnife treatments. Jewelry is acceptable unless it is close to the area being treated. For example, we ask that earrings and necklaces be removed prior to treatment of tumors within the head and neck. A technician will help you onto the treatment table and fit the mask or body mold if needed. Patients are observed throughout the treatment on closed-circuit television, and they can pause treatment at any time by waving or speaking to the technicians. There’s no sedation or anesthesia required. Sometimes patients take naps during their procedures. Feel free to bring an iPod® or your favorite music CDs with you on the day of your treatment, and we will play them for you during the procedure. While the CyberKnife’s advanced tracking system accounts for movements like breathing, you’re asked to lie still during treatment. The system periodically takes X-ray images and compares them to the CT scan data to make sure the radiation beam is locked on the tumor. Treatment procedures take 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the complexity of your tumor. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  10. 10. After Treatment Recovery from a CyberKnife procedure is often immediate, given both the low risk of complications and the lack of damage to healthy tissue. In most cases, you will be able to return to your normal activities immediately following the procedure. After completing your CyberKnife treatment, we’ll need to see you for follow-up imaging and physician consultation to monitor your tumor’s progress. You will have an individualized plan for follow up that will be coordinated by the CyberKnife nurse in collaboration with the physicians involved in your care. (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  11. 11. Patient Testimonial “I just can’t stop marveling that there is technology that can treat the lesions on my spine without damaging surrounding tissue and my spinal cord. I’m so grateful for that. I didn’t feel anything during treatment and didn’t experience any side effects. I’m glad CyberKnife is available, and I’m so thankful for the Austin CyberKnife staff. It was really a pleasant experience.” Dr. Mathis Blackstock (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701
  12. 12. Our Center Austin CyberKnife was the first in the greater Austin area, as well as the central Texas region, to offer CyberKnife treatment, giving our physicians the most experience treating patients with this technology in our area. Austin CyberKnife is a department of University Medical Center Brackenridge, a member of the Seton Healthcare Family. Medical Director: Dr. Doug Rivera CyberKnife Nurse: Lori Eitelbach, RN Medical Physicist: Jim Hevezi, PhD Connect With Us! (512) 324-8060 | 1400 North IH 35, Austin, TX 78701