Treatment Process

Patient-Centric Care. Customized.

In the CyberKnife treatment process, doctors with different medical specialties collaborate to develop a customized treatment plan for your specific diagnosis.

Contact us to discuss whether you may be a candidate for CyberKnife treatment. We’ll talk about your diagnosis and any questions you may have regarding insurance coverage. If you are a candidate, we’ll begin the treatment process, which consists of four main steps:

  1. Consultation appointment
  2. Pre-treatment procedures
  3. CyberKnife treatment
  4. Follow-up

Step 1: Consultation

The CyberKnife radiation oncologist will meet with you to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. You and your loved ones will have time to ask questions and express any concerns.

The radiation oncologist will review your diagnosis and medical records, which may include CT or MRI scans, and pathology or biopsy reports. This information will help determine whether pre-treatment procedures are needed for your customized treatment plan. The procedures that may be required as part of your treatment plan, and the order in which they will occur, will be explained at this time. Our CyberKnife nurse assists you during your first visit and helps address your needs and concerns throughout the entire process.

For your consultation, please bring the following documents:

  • Any medical records we’ve requested that have not been previously sent to us
  • Your insurance card
  • Your driver’s license
  • A current list of medications

Step 2: Pre-Treatment Procedures

Your customized CyberKnife treatment plan may require one or more of the following pre-treatment procedures. These will be explained during your consultation.

  • A CT Scan is needed for our radiation oncologist and medical physicist to develop your custom treatment plan. Treatment sometimes requires a soft mesh facial mask or customized padding, which is fitted during the CT scan process.
  • Other imaging procedures may be required, such as an MRI. Your radiation oncologist determines which areas of your body need imaging and whether contrast material is needed. Contrast material is a special dye administered intravenously or orally to help the radiologist locate the treatment area on your radiology films.
  • If you need an MRI with contrast material, the doctor will order a blood test before the scan. This could include common blood tests such as a blood area nitrogen (BUN) test or a creatinine blood test. The test results determine whether your kidneys can flush out the dye on their own or whether you need IV fluids to help flush out the dye.
  • You may need small tissue markers known as fiducials inserted in or near your tumor. These are tiny metal seeds that help the CyberKnife accurately track your tumor or lesion as you breathe during treatment. The markers are inserted through a needle during an outpatient appointment.

Step 3: CyberKnife Treatment

Depending on your diagnosis and the level of your tumor’s complexity, treatment involves one to five outpatient sessions, each lasting about 30-90 minutes.

On the day of your CyberKnife treatment sessions, please wear comfortable clothing. The treatment is painless, and we want you to feel relaxed. We may ask you to remove jewelry if it is close to the area being treated. Feel free to bring an MP3 player or your favorite music CDs, and we’ll play them during the procedure.

When you enter the CyberKnife treatment room, our radiation therapist will help you onto the treatment table. You’re asked to lie still during the treatment session. No sedation is required.

Once you’re positioned for treatment, the radiation therapist exits the treatment room and your session begins. The CyberKnife’s robotic arm will move around your body, delivering radiation directly to your tumor with pinpoint precision. We’ll observe you throughout the treatment on closed-circuit television, and you can pause the session at any time by waving or speaking to the treatment team.

When your treatment session is complete, you’re allowed to leave and return to your normal activities. Our patients typically resume their daily routines immediately following each procedure.

Step 4: Follow-Up

Whether your treatment plan requires one session or the maximum of five sessions, we’ll schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. This includes additional imaging and meetings with your physician. Our CyberKnife nurse assists physicians with developing a custom plan for your post-treatment care.