CyberKnife for Spine Tumors

“Saint Francis’ CyberKnife® represents a true technological breakthrough. It is incredibly precise. I am able to save my patients from the pain, recuperation and blood loss that is associated with open surgery by instead treating them with the CyberKnife.”  

- Stephan Lange, M.D., Neurosurgeon, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Cyberknife spine, biggerSpine tumors can cause problems by putting too much pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing sensory and strength problems. Tumors in the spine and spinal cord may be benign and slow growing, or malignant, and faster growing. Some spine tumors invade the bone and can become extremely painful.  

Spine Tumors Treated with the CyberKnife®:

  • Recurrent Spine Metastases after previous radiation
  • Renal Cell Cancer Metastases
  • Melanoma Metastases
  • Meningioma
  • Schwannoma
  • Chordoma

Treating Spine Tumors with CyberKnife® Radiation

spineCyberKnife is one of the most advanced methods of using radiation to destroy cancerous cells in the spine. Using computers, cameras and imaging tools, CyberKnife identifies the exact location of a spine tumor. It uses this information to focus radiation beams precisely on the tumor—and not on any surrounding healthy tissue.

Preparing for CyberKnife Treatment

Your team of trained specialists at Saint Francis will help you understand every step of CyberKnife treatment.

Before you have CyberKnife treatment, you will need:

Custom body mold – This mold is formed to your body to lie on, and will help you feel more comfortable during any pre-treatment imaging procedures, as well as during the CyberKnife procedure. It also keeps your body from moving too much so that all procedures will be as precise as possible.

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan – A CT scan creates a detailed picture of your tumor using computers and x-rays. The CT scan will give CyberKnife the information it needs to pinpoint the exact size, shape and location of your tumor. Many patients may also require an MRI scan to help the physicians accurately pinpoint the tumor and spine anatomy.

During CyberKnife Treatment

  • During the treatment, all you will have to do is lie still on the table in the custom body mold. The CyberKnife robot will move around your body delivering radiation beams to your tumor. You will not feel any discomfort, and nothing will touch you directly.
  • During the treatment you can even watch a movie on the flat screen TV on the ceiling!
  • Each treatment lasts 1-2 hours.

After CyberKnife Treatment

  • Most spine tumor patients will receive one to five CyberKnife treatments over the course of a week. After treatment, you should be able to return to your normal daily activities.
  • Although most patients experience no side effects, rarely fatigue may develop lasting for a few weeks. Rarely, patients may experience nausea or difficulty swallowing. If you are concerned about any symptoms you may experience, contact your CyberKnife physician or nurse.
  • Patients are seen in follow-up evaluation 4-6 weeks after treatment, then every 3-6 months afterwards. Often, MRI or CT scans may be ordered to evaluate the response to the CyberKnife treatment. Many cancers will continue to show continued response for up to 3-6 months after treatment.