Gamma Knife Versus Cyber Knife

You are probably well aware of the recent media blitz heralding the arrival of CyberKnife to the Portland area.  Is this new technology all it’s cracked up to be?

Yes and no. Yes, CyberKnife expands the number of procedures that can be done using one machine. But to offer a variety of stereotactic radiosurgical procedures in a single device, manufacturers have been forced to give up their ability to tailor a procedure to any one area of the body.

In short, all-in-one systems like Cyberknife sacrifice accuracy and efficiency for greater functionality. That may be good for a hospital’s bottom line, but, depending on the procedure, it may not be the best treatment for a patient.

Why? Because the movement of the robotic arm to compensate for patient movement during CyberKnife treatment makes the apparatus unwieldy for procedures that demand a high level of accuracy.

By immobilizing the patient in a lightweight head frame, Gamma Knife gets it right the first time.  Gamma Knife is used exclusively for non-invasive brain surgery, focusing 192 beams of gamma radiation directly upon a tiny targeted area and thus sparing the healthy surrounding brain tissue.

Where the human brain is concerned, precision counts. For that reason alone, Gamma Knife remains the gold standard for intracranial sterotactic radiosurgery to treat benign and malignant brain lesions, vascular malformations, and functional conditions.

Gamma Knife is the only stereotactic radiosurgical system that a brain surgery patient needs.

Consider these fundamental differences between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife:

 

Gamma Knife CyberKnife
Treatment delivered during one session

Single or multiple treatments, possibly over a period of days

Radiologic accuracy  better than 0.3mm 1 mm accuracy; dose outside the target area is 2 to 6 times greater than with Gamma Knife
Rigid immobilization using a lightweight stereotactic head frame fixed to the outer skull. Non-rigid immobilization using a thermoplastic face mask that is shrink-wrapped to the table during treatment.
Provides exact MR and CT correlation from planning to treatment delivery in 3D Inherently less accurate since the positioning is optically guided, without a head-frame
Designed exclusively for non-invasive brain surgery with a 201-source cobalt unit Uses a single-source linear accelerator not exclusive to brain surgery
Target confirmed 10 times per second
Target confirmed once every 10 seconds