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Difference Between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife
Radiation therapy is a popular treatment for various types of cancers and other medical conditions that require the use of radiation. Two of the most common forms of radiation therapy are Gamma Knife and CyberKnife. Both are used to deliver high-dose radiation to specific areas of the body, but there are some significant differences between them. This essay will provide a detailed comparison of Gamma Knife and CyberKnife.
What is Gamma Knife?
Gamma Knife is a non-invasive treatment that uses gamma rays to destroy tumors and other abnormal tissues. The treatment involves the use of a specialized machine that delivers gamma rays to the targeted area. The machine consists of hundreds of small beams that converge at the target area, delivering a high dose of radiation. The Gamma Knife treatment is typically performed in a single session and is completed within a few hours. Gamma Knife treatment is commonly used for brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), trigeminal neuralgia, and other conditions.
The first Gamma Knife had 179 cobalt sources arranged in a hemisphere array, focused on a target point within the brain. The Gamma Knife radiosurgery was first used by Ladislau Steiner to treat an AVM patient in Stockholm in 1970. The Gamma knife evolved steadily since then and is now the best example of a disruptive innovation in neurosurgery as a wide variety of brain abnormalities are now treated with radiosurgery.
What is CyberKnife?
CyberKnife, on the other hand, uses a similar approach to deliver radiation but uses a robotic arm to do so. The CyberKnife machine consists of a robotic arm that moves around the patient to deliver radiation from different angles. The robotic arm is equipped with a linear accelerator that generates high-energy radiation.
The CyberKnife treatment involves several sessions that are completed over a period of days or weeks. CyberKnife is used to treat a variety of cancers, including lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.
Differences: Gamma Knife and CyberKnife
One of the main differences between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife is the type of radiation used. Gamma Knife uses gamma rays, which are high-energy photons. CyberKnife uses a linear accelerator, which generates high-energy X-rays.
The difference in the type of radiation used means that Gamma Knife is more precise in targeting small areas, such as the brain. CyberKnife, on the other hand, can deliver radiation to larger areas, making it useful for treating tumors in other parts of the body.
Another significant difference between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife is the number of treatment sessions required. Gamma Knife is typically a one-time treatment, while CyberKnife requires several sessions over a period of days or weeks. The number of sessions required for CyberKnife treatment depends on the size and location of the tumor.
The side effects of Gamma Knife and CyberKnife treatments are also different. Gamma Knife treatment is generally well-tolerated and has few side effects. Patients may experience some swelling or redness at the treatment site, but these symptoms typically subside within a few days. CyberKnife treatment may cause more side effects, including fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. However, the side effects of CyberKnife treatment are usually mild and temporary.
The following table highlights the major differences between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife −
Gamma Knife is a frame-based radiosurgery technique that requires the application of an invasive frame to the patient’s head to achieve the desired accuracy.
CyberKnife is an innovative frameless radiosurgical system that provides precise target lineation without the need for a rigid stereotactic frame for immobilization.
Additionally, in contrast to the frame-based Gamma Knife method, the high-dose treatments with CyberKnife could be divided into more fractions to control tissue dose, thereby reducing toxicity from treatment.
Gamma Knife is a non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgery procedure that uses intense beams of gamma rays with pinpoint accuracy to treat functional abnormalities in the brain.
Despite the name, it involves no incision, not even a knife; a large metal frame – the collimator – pierced by hundreds of holes is mounted onto the patient’s head and a single, radiation dose is administered throughout the target volume using multiple exposures.
CyberKnife, on the contrary, uses a robotic arm to deliver radiation beams to the targeted tumor from multiple positions and angles in order to destroy the tumor cells.
Gamma Knife is a gantry-designed system consists of a heavy collimator without any moving parts and its underlying principle is fairly simple – it employs cobalt radiation sources in a fixed hemispherical array, such that all photon beams focus on a single point and the intracranial target coincides with the isocenter of radiation.
Linear accelerator devices such as the CyberKnife deliver their radiation beams one at a time instead of delivering radiation into convenient primitive shapes, providing precise target delineation.
In conclusion, both Gamma Knife and CyberKnife are effective forms of radiation therapy that can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Gamma Knife is a non-invasive treatment that uses gamma rays to destroy tumors and other abnormal tissues. It is typically a one-time treatment and is well-tolerated with few side effects.
CyberKnife, on the other hand, uses a robotic arm to deliver radiation and requires several sessions over a period of days or weeks. It is used to treat a variety of cancers and can deliver radiation to larger areas.
The choice between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife depends on the location and size of the tumor, as well as the patient's overall health and treatment goals.
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