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The Treatment Process
On the first visit, a set of CT and MRI images will be produced to "map" the treatment path for the CyberKnife. This initial treatment planning session will be held at The Community Hospital in Munster, or St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. The actual CyberKnife treatment is offered at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago.
Patients being treated for spine or other tumors outside the head may need to undergo a procedure to place 3-5 "fiducials" or special markers near the tumor prior to treatment. A local anesthetic is used for this outpatient procedure. For head and neck treatments, patients are fitted with a custom face-mask, a painless device worn during treatment to minimize movement and ensure comfort.
Three or more days after the initial set-up, the patient receives the first CyberKnife treatment. On the day of treatment, the patient lies on a table while the robotic arm delivers the radiation to the tumor site. The patient can return home and resume normal activities immediately after treatment. Depending on the size or location of the tumor, up to four additional outpatient treatments may be required, usually given 24 hours apart. Each treatment usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete.