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Below are some procedures that may be performed prior to your CyberKnife® treatment. Every treatment plan is different and not all of these steps are necessary for every patient. The procedures required as part of your individualized treatment plan, and the order in which they will occur will be explained during your consultation visit.
A CT scan is needed prior to beginning CyberKnife treatment. Even if you recently had a CT scan as part of your diagnosis, a new one will be needed in order for the radiation oncologist and physicist to develop your customized treatment plan. Some patients may need a soft mesh mask or body cradle molded from a lightweight material that helps in the CyberKnife treatment process. The fitting is painless and is completed as part of the CT scan process.
Sometimes special imaging procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are needed in addition to the CT scan. Your radiation oncologist will write specific directions that apply to you. The radiation oncologist also determines whether this procedure requires contrast material, a special dye put in your body that helps the radiologist locate the treatment area on your radiology films. Contrast material is available in intravenous (IV) and oral forms.
The MRI procedure may require contrast material. If so, we need to ensure your kidneys can flush the dye out of your body. Your physician will order what is known as a “BUN” and a creatinine blood test. The test results determine whether your kidneys can handle the dye on their own or you need IV fluids to help flush out the dye.
Depending on your individual case, you made need small tissue markers known as fiducials implanted in or near the tumor site. Fiducials help the CyberKnife system precisely target the treatment area. A physician implants the fiducials in or near the tumor site in a brief outpatient procedure. We will schedule this procedure and provide instructions for preparation. If needed, fiducial placement takes place prior to the CT scan.