At some point after treatment planning, the patient returns for treatment delivery. During treatment, the patient is fitted with the custom plastic mask (for cranial tumors) or body cradle (for spinal tumors/lesions or other extracranial tumors such as lung or pancreas) and lies on the treatment table.
Prior to beginning of the actual radiation treatment, the imaging system acquires X-ray image of the patient position. This information, compared with the information gathered with the CT scan, is used to move the linear accelerator to the appropriate position by the robot.
This process is repeated at 50 to 200 different positions around the patient to complete the treatment. At various intervals, the robot stops and additional X-ray images are obtained, thereby allowing the CyberKnife to track and compensate for small amounts of patient movement.
The entire process is painless, and it usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes to deliver all radiation beams for cranial treatments. Treatments delivered to the rest of the body take between one to two hours. Depending on the diagnosis and treatment prescription, the patient may come in for treatment between one to five days. Most typically a patient can go home immediately upon treatment completion and return to normal activities.