CyberKnife: Image-Guided Robotic Radiosurgery
The CyberKnife uses a linear accelerator mounted on a robotic arm to focus multiple beams of radiation into the tumor. The CyberKnife is used to treat both primary and metastatic brain tumors as well as tumors of the head and neck, base of skull, spine, lung, pancreas, liver, kidney, breast, and prostate. At the Department's Annette Simmons Stereotactic Treatment Center at Zale Lipshy University Hospital, both radiosurgery and radiotherapy with CyberKnife are performed on an outpatient basis.
The Department of Radiation Oncology is one of the leading facilities in the world for treatment of tumors in the body using SABR/SBRT. At our main clinic in the Moncrief Radiation Oncology Building, stereotactic radiosurgery is performed using the next-generation Elekta Agility linear accelerator with multifunctional intelligent beam shaping. This advanced machine offers integrated digital control of leaves and leaf guides, combined with unique Rubicon optical leaf positioning for accurate beam shaping. Coupled with extremely low leaf transmission of less than 0.5 percent, Agility enhances treatment delivery while reducing integral dose.
UT Southwestern Medical Center is the first institution in North America to install Vero, an advanced system for delivering noninvasive radiation treatment to cancer patients. The Vero system integrates many state-of-the-art radiation therapy capabilities into one machine and is designed to locate tumors and meticulously direct radiation precisely where it is needed.
The Vero machine also incorporates several different types of imaging technologies, including X-ray, CT, and fluoroscopy, which allow clinicians to locate and track tumors, even when the patient’s body moves. Unique to the Vero is a gamboled linear accelerator head that can move in multiple directions.
The versatile TrueBeam™ system from Varian is designed to address complex clinical cases such as those involving the lung, liver, head and neck, and more. TrueBeam integrates respiratory gating, real-time tracking, imaging, and treatment delivery. With this integration, our clinicians are to treat patients using the latest treatment techniques, including SABR/SBRT and RapidArc®.
Gamma Knife: Precise Cranial Radiosurgery
Also housed at the Annette Simmons Stereotactic Treatment Center is the Gamma Knife. Contrary to what the name implies, it is not really a knife at all. Instead, the Gamma Knife uses beams of highly focused gamma rays to treat tumors or other abnormalities in the brain. The Gamma Knife remains the most precise tool available to treat brain tumors and multiple metastatic brain lesions, arteriovenous malformations (an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins), and functional problems such as trigeminal neuralgia. For this single-day outpatient procedure, the patient is fitted with a head frame which immobilizes the head and guides the beams to the desired location.