Orange Coast Radiation Oncology Center
CyberKnife vs. Gamma Knife

What’s The Difference?

Patients of Orange County CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center often inquire about a similar cancer treatment called Gamma Knife. These two different technologies offer patients alternatives to surgery by using direct radiation treatments to shrink tumors and kill cancer. They also both serve as effective treatments that offer sub-millimeter accuracy, and neither require an overnight hospital stay. However, there are some significant benefits of CyberKnife over Gamma Knife, as seen in the chart below.

Gamma Knife CyberKnife
Does it treat tumors on all parts of your body with the same System? Gamma Knife is primarily used to treat tumors of the brain or head, with the newer Gamma Knife treating some upper cervical spine tumors as well. CyberKnife can treat tumors throughout the body during a single treatment session.
How invasive is the treatment? Gamma Knife is a minimally invasive surgery, which requires a head frame. CyberKnife is non-invasive & is a frameless, stereotactic radiosurgery.
How comfortable and restrictive is the process? A rigid metal frame is bolted to your head to prevent movement. Does not require a head frame.
How flexible is the System at killing cancer cells? Imaging done the same day as treatment after you are in the head frame. No movement allowed. Head frame limits angles for radiation to reach tumor to approximately 200 different angles. Imaging done days or weeks prior to treatment. System software and imaging tracks the tumor’s every movement ensuring maximum contact with radiation at over 1400 angles.
Does the System use anesthesia? The Gamma Knife treatment could require general anesthesia, or a local anesthetic injected at the head frame pin insertion sites (depending on the specifics of the treatment) No anesthesia will be used.
How many sessions are involved in the treatment process? Gamma Knife treatment occurs in one single treatment only. There is no option for fractionation. The treatment itself usually lasts 15-30 minutes. CyberKnife treatments typically occur once, but unlike the Gamma Knife, can be done 2-5 times when clinically necessary. Similarly to Gamma Knife, length of treatment is between 15-30 minutes.
Does the treatment require a hospital stay? In some cases, Gamma Knife treatment could require an overnight hospital stay. CyberKnife treatment does not require an overnight stay at the hospital. No recovery time needed.
How soon can I get back to my normal life after treatment? Return to normal activities after 24 hours. Side effects may include local pain and swelling in the scalp, headache, nausea, seizures, loss of balance, vision problems. CyberKnife patients can return to normal activities immediately, with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.

Have A Question? Contact Us Today!

As you can begin to see, CyberKnife is one of the most recent innovations in the treatment of cancer, giving new hope especially to those with inoperable tumors or who are not candidates for surgery. CyberKnife can offer you a minimally-invasive, highly-effective radiation therapy that targets your tumors, leaving your healthy cells alone. It gives you more flexibility and mobility than traditional systems, while still enhancing pinpoint accuracy. Please check out what other patients have to say about Orange County CyberKnife and meet our cancer specialists. We are conveniently located between Long Beach and Newport Beach in Fountain Valley, California, and serve all of Orange County. Contact us anytime at (714) 962-7100 for a free consultation to visit about your particular case and answer all of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you through this difficult time.