For the first time in Latvia doctors used non-invasive robotised radio-surgery technology – CyberKnife. It is especially useful for patients whose tumours cannot be operated with conventional surgery due to risks of impacting health or because tumours are located in places that are not easily accessible.
Following the opening of this modern surgery centre, specialists have been carrying out consultations with patients. The first three patients of this centre have finished their treatment course with CyberKnife. This technology allows specialists to administer high doses of ionizing radiation to precise and localized tumour areas. Accuracy of this technology is 0.5 to 0.95mm. During the treatment process, the device carefully follows each movement of the body, adapting its aim and reducing radiation exposure to tissues situated close to the tumour, the centre says.
CyberKnife’s main advantage is reaching surgically inaccessible tumours. Treatment is administered over a course of 1-5 sessions. On top of that, there is no need for the patient to remain hospitalized. This treatment technology also creates fewer complications and provides the patient with higher life quality indexes after treatment. After the 30-45 minute treatment session, patients can safely return to their everyday lives.
The first patient is a 67-year-old pensioner who was diagnosed with meningioma – a form of benign brain tumour – in April 2015. The tumour is relatively small (around 2 cm). After a consultation with a neurosurgeon it was decided to carry out treatment using CyberKnife technology. Three treatment sessions were carried out in total.
Head of P.Stradins Clinical University Hospital’s Neurosurgery Clinic Dr. Egils Valeinis: «The patient was diagnosed with a form of tumour. According to magnetic-resonance imaging, it is a dense calcined formation. It is located in an inoperable part of the body – the front of the brainstem. Conventional surgical intervention in this case would have a great risk for the patient’s health and life. Since the tumour does not create a pressure effect, it is important to stop its growth. After carefully assessing the patient’s age and coexisting conditions, it was decided to use CyberKnife treatment method.»
CyberKnife also helped treat a 45-year-old businessman who was previously diagnosed with auditory nerve neirinoma. It was operated in 2013, but had started growing again. The patient had a choice – either go for another surgery or use CyberKnife.
The patient reflects on his last surgery and his more recent experience with CyberKnife: «I had undergone a surgery after doctors diagnosed auditory nerve neirinoma in 2013. I spent ten days in hospital after that surgery. I spent a long time learning to walk again after that. After CyberKnife, on the other hand, I can freely work and visit the centre for treatment on my own without problems.»
The third patient is a 62-year-old businessman diagnosed with meningioma (3 cm). He had no previous surgery of this tumour. Doctors decided to prescribe him CyberKnife treatment in the form of three sessions.
Dr Maris Skromanis, head of Sigulda centre, says about different application methods for CyberKnife: «This technology is useful for treating pathological malformations in blood vessels. We plan to apply radio-surgery methods to treat tumour metastases in the spinal cord next year. We also plan to introduce treatment synchronized with the patient’s breathing to treat lung cancer. We continue developing treatment plans for tumours in liver and other inoperable regions of the body.»
«Although CyberKnife technology is effective and very precise, the centre also received requests from patients we cannot help. It is either because their conditions are in too late a stage or because the tumour has spread too much in the body, making it untreatable from any angle. This is where we once again emphasize the importance of timely diagnosis. We eagerly expect the opening of the Positron emission tomography–computed tomography centre in Latvia next year. It will help reveal tumours very early on in their development. CyberKnife is mainly used to treat tumours whose size does not exceed 3 cm (5 cm in very rare cases) in diameter,» – said the specialist.