Difference Between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife

With the evolution in technology, new techniques are used in today’s world to cure various diseases. One such technique is the use of radiation therapy or radiotherapy to treat cancer or tumors. These techniques help reduce various side effects. The beams are adjusted in a way to match the shape of the tumors.

Gamma Knife vs CyberKnife

The main difference between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife is that the flexibility offered by CyberKnife is much more than that of Gamma Knife. It can be used to treat tumors throughout the body unlike Gamma Knife treats tumors only in the head and brain area. No headframe and anesthesia is required while using a CyberKnife, unlike a Gamma Knife.

Gamma Knife vs CyberKnife

Gamma Knife is a radiation therapy in which focused beams of high-dose radiation are used on a highly specific area. Side effects are much less compared to traditional radiation techniques as there isn’t much effect on surrounding tissues. The recovery period and post-procedural pain are the least when a Gamma Knife is used.

CyberKnife is also a radiation therapy in which photons are focused on the tumor. Using this, the tumor is reduced or eliminated by a few sessions only. Its machine comprises a robotic arm that moves around the patient to find the affected area. This prevents the chances of radiation being used in affected areas.

Comparison Table Between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife

Parameters of ComparisonGamma KnifeCyberKnife
Accuracy enabled byThe accuracy is achieved by making the patient immobile throughout the treatmentUses real-time imaging and enhanced tumor tracking technology to achieve accuracy
InvasiveTreatment is invasive; a large, metalhead frame bolted into the skin of the patientTreatment is non-invasive; a soft, mesh mask is worn by the patient during treatment
Part of the body treatedIn the skull and several cases in the cervical spineThroughout the body
AnesthesiaRequiredNot required
First used in the U.S.First used in the U.S.A. in 1979.First used in 2001 in U.S.
Radioactive material usedRadioactive cobalt is usedMakes use of electrically generated photons

What is Gamma Knife?

Gamma Knife is a radiation therapy that makes use of computerized treatment planning software. It assists physicians in locating and removing small affected regions within the brain and head with sub-millimeter accuracy. In this, intense radiation doses are delivered to the affected while leaving the unaffected areas alone.

A medical physicist, radiation oncologist, and neurosurgeon are involved in this radiation therapy. They are known as a multidisciplinary team. It is also a requirement laid down by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which states the presence of an authorized user for the treatment.

Highly trained professionals are needed to operate for the same. Any discrepancy can cause major issues. Shaping of the volume of tissue to be treated, ensuring that the head frame is properly attached, the accuracy of the imaging studies are all essential for precise treatment. A medical physicist ensures safety by testing all the types of equipment and software involved.

The Gamma Knife is used to treat a variety of problems. It can be used to treat benign brain tumors, blood vessel defects, select malignant tumors, and functional problems. Future use for epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease are also being evaluated. The risk involved in this therapy is less and has a minimum recovery period, so it is preferred in the treatment of various problems.

What is CyberKnife?

The CyberKnife comprises a lightweight linear accelerator that is put on a robotic arm. It is a non-invasive treatment used to treat both non-cancerous and cancerous tumors and several other conditions involving radiation therapy. Unlike a Gamma Knife, it treats conditions in all parts of the body including lung, liver, kidney, pancreas, and others.

The treatment is completed in 1 to 5 sessions and has a very less recovery period. The precision is high as it involves the latest technology. In this, the robot examines the patient, and radiation is provided to the exact affected area reducing doses to the healthy tissues.

Two treatment types of CyberKnife system are as follows:

  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
  • Stereostatic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

It makes use of real-time x-rays to note the position of the patient while treatment and then aligns the radiation beam accordingly. Every move of the patient is taken into consideration by the machine and accommodated while treatment. Each beam of this machine is independent of the other.

It is also approved by the FDA to perform radiosurgery. It is also the only system having live motion synchronization which highly improves its precision. A moving tumor is also recorded by it.

Comparison Table Between Gamma Knife and CyberKnife

  1. Gamma Knife is invasive wherein a large, metalhead frame is worn by the patient. On the other hand, a CyberKnife is non-invasive wherein a soft, mesh mask is worn by the patient.
  2. Gamma Knife achieves precision by immobilizing the patient whereas live motion synchronization is used in CyberKnife.
  3. Treatment options are more flexible while using a CyberKnife compared to a Gamma Knife. The patient has to opt for a single treatment while a Gamma Knife is in use whereas the patient can opt for single or multiple treatments while a CyberKnife is used.
  4. Anesthesia and radioactive cobalt are used in Gamma Knife treatment while electrically generated photons are used in CyberKnife treatment. No anesthesia is required for CyberKnife treatment.
  5. Gamma Knife was first used in the U.S. in 1979 whereas CyberKnife was used in 2001.

Conclusion

Both Gamma Knife and CyberKnife provide high-dose radiations to treat tumors. However, they are quite different from each other. CyberKnife is a comparatively new technique evolved from the Gamma Knife. Apart from SRS, it also delivers SBRT which Gamma Knife does not. In terms of accuracy, patient friendliness, and many others, CyberKnife is preferred over Gamma Knife.

References

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