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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: To find out if I am a candidate for CyberKnife® treatment, who do I contact at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System?

A1. Please call: 734-712-HOPE (4673)
or e-mail us at: aami-CyberKnife@trinity-health.org

Q2: What are the key benefits of CyberKnife®?

A2: The key benefits of CyberKnife® are:

  • No incision
  • No blood
  • No pain
  • No anesthesia
  • No stereotactic frame surgically attached to the skull
  • No recovery time
  • Rapid return to normal activity

Q3: What is CyberKnife® radiosurgery?

A3: CyberKnife® radiosurgery is a precise, painless, non-invasive radiation treatment that can be an alternative to traditional, open surgery in certain cases.

Multiple beams of high energy radiation are delivered from multiple points outside the body and come together precisely at the tumor or lesion inside the body. Each individual beam is not sufficient to cause harm. But when all the beams come together at the tumor, they give a very high dose of radiation to the lesion, while sparing nearby normal tissue.

CyberKnife® radiosurgery is so precise, radiation beams can be sculpted to small, complex-shaped tumors near critical structures, such as hearing and vision nerves. This ability to accurately irradiate only the tumor and protect healthy tissue allows the CyberKnife® to treat many lesions which may be considered inoperable or untreatable with other radiosurgery systems - giving many patients new hope.

Q4: Is the CyberKnife® clinically proven?

A4: The CyberKnife® System is based on radiation technology that has been proven for over 30 years. Worldwide, more than 40,000 patients have received CyberKnife® treatments, and many clinical studies with the CyberKnife® have been published in medical journals. At Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, our oncologists, surgeons and physicists collaborate with other international cancer experts who have destroyed thousands of tumors with this technology.

Q5: What types of tumors can be treated?

A5: The CyberKnife® System is approved by the FDA to treat tumors and lesions anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is indicated. Consult with your physician to see if the CyberKnife® treatment is right for you.

Q6: How does the CyberKnife® work?

A6: The CyberKnife® is a revolutionary new way of performing stereotactic radiosurgery. It combines two advanced technologies:

  1. The first innovation is a lightweight radiation delivery system mounted on a multi-jointed robotic arm. The robotic arm provides unparalleled access to tumors anywhere in the body, reaching areas of the body that are untreatable with other radiosurgery systems and allowing more flexible delivery of radiation for optimum treatment.
  2. The second innovation is an image guidance system. This advancement allows the CyberKnife® System to locate the tumor throughout treatment and correct for small patient movements, which allows radiation to be delivered without the use of a stereotactic frame.

Q7: What makes CyberKnife® so different?

A7: It's 100% Frameless:
The ability of the CyberKnife® System to correct for patient movement during treatment spares you from the pain and inconvenience associated with the conventional head frame that must be affixed to the skull with screws. Published studies have shown that frameless CyberKnife® radiosurgery is as accurate, if not more accurate than traditional frame-based radiosurgery.

Full Body Capability & Staged Treatment:
The unique design of the CyberKnife® System allows it to deliver precise high dose radiation not just to lesions in the brain, but to lesions in the spine and other organs throughout the body. In addition, because no frame is required, the CyberKnife® System can perform "hypo-fractionated" or staged radiosurgery. With this approach, the total radiation dose is divided into 3-5 smaller doses. This is especially beneficial for treating lesions near sensitive structures and larger tumors, because it better protects surrounding healthy tissue.

Painless Surgery:
The CyberKnife® System allows you to be treated in a unique radiosurgery suite where painless "surgery" is performed on an outpatient basis, eliminating the risk of complications and lengthy recovery time associated with traditional open surgery.

Better Quality of Life During & After Treatment:
The simple outpatient CyberKnife® procedure allows you to undergo your treatment and immediately resume normal activities.

Q8: Who will be involved in my treatment?

A8: CyberKnife® treatment utilizes a team approach where medical experts collaborate with you as their central focus. Team members may include your surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, physicist and other team members within the hospital.

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St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 | 734-712-3456