Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cyber knife

This new technique in radiotherapy is revolutionising the world of treatment in oncology. The technique is largely unheard and my intention of writing the post is to share it with a maximum number of people.

Invented by John R Adler, Peter and Russell Schönberg in 1990, 'CK' is about targetting radiation with a high accuracy to neoplastic tissues.

A linear accelerator of 6MV delivers X ray radiation of 6-800cGy while a  robotic arm maneuvers the 'linac' around the body of the patient so that most of the neoplastic cells are irradiated. An accuracy of 0.5 mm is maintained during the process.

For ensuring such level of accuracy, tissue tracking is needed. There are different methods of tracking for bones, lungs and viscera. For soft tissues like pancreas, gold fiducials(hair like implants) are inserted so that the movement of the tissues as the patient breathes can be identified accurately.

About 1-5 sessions are needed depending upon the pathology. There's no anaesthesia and long treatment hours involved, unlike surgery. Plus, the procedure is significantly cheaper than say, Whipple's pancreaticoduodenectomy!

-Thats all!

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