What to Expect

An effective, less disruptive treatment option

The CyberKnife® System CyberKnife uses an approach called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), delivering precise doses of radiation with extreme accuracy — and accounting for target motion in real-time. To achieve this level of accuracy and precision, the CyberKnife uses an image-guided linear accelerator mounted to a robotic arm that was specifically designed to deliver SBRT, combined with industry-exclusive motion synchronization technology that automatically synchronizes the radiation beam with tumor movement in real-time throughout treatment. This enables the CyberKnife System to maintain sub-millimeter accuracy, which can significantly reduce the risk of the side effects that too often disrupt the lives of men during and after treatment.


Treatment with the CyberKnife System is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that does not require incisions or general anesthesia. Most patients will not require hospitalization or a long recovery period. Additionally, CyberKnife treatments are non-invasive and avoid the inconvenience and risk associated with radioactive seed or catheter implants.


CyberKnife treatment can be completed in as little as 4-5 sessions over 1-2 weeks, compared to 30-40 sessions over 8-10 weeks with conventional radiation therapy.


The CyberKnife System delivers the required radiation dose to the prostate with sub-millimeter accuracy, significantly reducing the risk of sexual, urinary and bowel function side effects.

A faster return to everyday life

With CyberKnife treatment, the majority of men can continue normal activity during and immediately following treatment — compared to the typical requirement to limit normal activity for three to five weeks with traditional prostate cancer surgery. Importantly, patients treated with the CyberKnife System for prostate cancer reported a return to normal urinary and bowel function sooner than with other treatment options.1

Your CyberKnife treatment process


The CyberKnife treatment process begins with a consultation with a radiation oncologist who will provide perspective on this treatment option specific to your condition. The physician will review your PSA, Gleason score, biopsy results, imaging and other medical conditions.


Prostate cancer treatment with the CyberKnife System involves a multi-disciplinary team approach, which may include several specialists:

  • Urologist
  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Dosimetrist
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Medical Support Staff


Prior to CyberKnife treatment, you will undergo a CT scan, which helps determine the exact size, shape and location of the prostate. An MRI scan also may be necessary to fully visualize the prostate and nearby anatomy.


Approximately two weeks prior to treatment, a short outpatient procedure is required in which three to four tiny gold pellets – called fiducial markers – are implanted in the prostate. These fiducials are used in many SBRT procedures as imaging reference points so that the tumor can be tracked.


About one week after the fiducials are implanted, you will return for imaging and treatment planning. Using CT, MRI and/or PET scan data, your treatment team will determine the area to be targeted by radiation, the radiation dose, and identify critical structures – such as the bowel or rectum – where radiation should be minimized.

The medical physicist will then calculate a precision-optimized radiation delivery plan, leveraging the extreme maneuverability of the CyberKnife System to deliver a safe and accurate treatment.


Approximately one week after your treatment plan is finalized, you will begin treatment sessions.

There are usually 4-5 sessions of short duration over 1-2 weeks. During treatment, the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will move around your body to various locations from which it will deliver radiation. The System will automatically adapt and synchronize the delivery of the radiation beam with prostate or patient motion.

Treatment sessions are non-invasive outpatient procedures, and nothing will be required of you during treatment. No patient restraints. No breath holds. No anesthesia.


Most patients experience minimal side effects and can quickly return to their daily routines with little interruption to their normal activities during or following their treatment.

Your medical team will discuss all possible side effects prior to treatment and may prescribe medication to control any side effects, should they occur. You also should schedule and attend any follow-up appointments.

Learn More About Side Effects

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1 Katz et al. Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:118. Stereotactic body radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer: disease control and quality of life at 6 years.

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Important Safety Statement: Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death. Side effects can occur during or shortly after radiation treatment or in the months and years following radiation. The nature and severity of side effects depend on many factors, including the size and location of the treated tumor, the treatment technique (for example, the radiation dose), the patient’s general medical condition, to name a few. For more details about the side effects of your radiation therapy, and if treatment with an Accuray product is right for you, ask your doctor.