The world of medicine has become more advanced thanks to the development of newer technologies coupled with computer systems and the availability of the internet. In previous medical breakthroughs, the main component of the achievement lies mainly on the discovery of medicines for previously incurable diseases. However, the existence of advanced technology today and superior computer programming has let the medical world advance to the next level of treating diseases as well as conducting surgeries. One of the most recent development in surgical procedures as a product of computer, machine and information technology is Cybeknife.


Cyberknife is a medical equipment that intends to provide non-invasive alternative surgery for the treatment of tumors anywhere in the body. The Cyberknife Robotic Radiosurgery System can target specific tumors that may be present in the lungs, the brain, prostate, liver, pancreas and kidney. The main technique employed by the equipment is to deliver beams of radiation with great accuracy so that it can only target the tumor in the body. With this feature, the tissues in the nearby area within the tumor proximity will be less exposed to radiation, thus preserving their health (Li, 2013).

Potential Benefits

Cyberknife as a medical equipment promises certain benefits which will allow a patient to get treatment from his or her cancerous tumors. There are certain benefits that will give convenience on the part of the patient while medical professionals will also get certain advantages in using the machine in some conditions. For the patient, the availability of non-invasive treatment for cancerous tumor means more comfort and convenience. The technology only requires targeting the specific location of the tumor in order to deliver high doses of radiation. Being a non-invasive procedure, patients can easily go back to their daily routines with very minimal or zero downtimes. This is in contrast with a surgical procedure that usually requires confinement after the operation.

Comparatively, the use of Cybeknife makes cancer treatment faster since it will only require fewer radiation session compared to traditional methods. In a case at the St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Virginia, patients were only required to have at least five treatments of radiation therapy compared to 40 of the traditional radiation options (Casto, 2013). This means that apart from targeting tumors precisely, patients in some locations may simply need to pay the same costs as with traditional therapies.

Legal Issues

Legal issues regarding Cyberknife may not be realized until a patient or a medical facility files a lawsuit regarding the failure of the machine to induce successful treatment. In terms of legality, the equipment is legally available in the United States and other countries since it is an equipment that will provide an alternative in treating cancers. Any equipment that does not violate laws on healthcare is readily available for the market. This means that legal issues may only be limited to individual cases wherein a patient or an institution would like to apply for claims from the aspect of equipment malfunction, guarantees and warranties, defects and ineffectiveness. Accuray, the manufacturer of Cybeknife has recently initiated a recall for 176 Cyberknife units due to third party manufactured parts (Gale, 2013).

Ethical Issues

Although the Cyberknife technology has become a promising additional option for patient treatment, it has raised some ethical issues on its use. People always have an option to undergo the treatment option they like since there are so many factors involved when it comes to finding a solution for cancer treatment. There are chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapies available that can help with the successful treatment of malignant tumors. However, the availability of Cyberknife has allowed patients and doctors to have a new option in treating tumors. The main ethical consideration for the use of this technology may be realized in the aspect of marketing. The manufacturers of Cyberknife have been pushing the use of their machines in hospitals by doing aggressive marketing. Conservatives are asking whether it is actually an important development on cancer treatment or it is simply a profitable technology for the makers. According to Stein, hospitals in the United States including Georgetown University Hospital and Virginia Hospital Center are promoting the Cyberknife machine which costs $4 million (Stein, 2009).

Apparently, some UK hospitals are not very confident in using Cyberknife due to its limitations on whether it has already proven to be more cost effective, better outcomes for the patient and a decrease in hospital bed occupation. The National Centre for Health and Clinical Excellence has to make many difficult decisions about which patients should have access to what procedures or whether procedures are cost effective (Gomes, 2012).

Ethical issues with Cyberknife use may also be pointed out on the same issues with surgery. It is always the responsibility of the surgeon or the radio-surgery clinic facility to provide detailed explanations on the possible complications of using any methods for treating cancers. When it comes to Cyberknife, there should be an available disclaimer as to what extent the technology can become very effective and what limitations it can have after the treatment. This is the same as with any surgical procedures where the risks are weighed upon before the operation starts (Ammar, 2014).

Security Concerns

Security concerns about Cybekrnife lies mainly on the effectiveness of removing certain cancers in a lifetime. In one example, Cyberknife used in treating prostate cancer may or may not result to a positive outcome. The security of not having prostate cancer again in the future is not guaranteed with the technology since it only applies radiation and does not require any post operative follow ups for future cancers. According to Doctor Samadi, Cyberknife treatment is only employed in the form of a “best guess” plan and uses only pre-treatment biopsy and CT scans to evaluate the location of the tumor, its size and shape (Samadi, 2012).

Social Problems

Social problems are usually not observed within the development of new technologies for medicine since the main objective is to make treatment available for the patients. In the case of Cyberknife, the only social concern that may arise from its availability in the market is with regards to possible lack of service for people with more serious conditions. On one case, people who find Cybrkenife technology to be expensive may eventually opt to avail traditional methods of cancer treatment, adding to the number of growing patients in a certain location or hospital. Therefore, possible backlog in services may experience since patients need to share the manpower and facilities of the hospital even if the Cyberknife technology is available which may command a more expensive service cost.

Further Research

It is important to conduct further research on how Cyberknife can actually lessen the incidence of hospitalization due to downtimes related to cancer treatments. The research study should emphasize on the correlation between the Cyberknife use and the number of patients who need to be confined for post-treatment concerns. Moreover, it is recommended that further research is done on the possible side effects of Cyberknife since it uses high doses of radiation. Although the technology claims that it will accurately target the location of the tumor, there is no guarantee that surrounding tissues and cells will not be affected by such process.


Cyberknife is regarded as a non-invasive treatment option that uses robotics and computer systems to target tumors and treat them. The manufacturer is understandably aggressive in marketing the equipment because it is based upon the models of a business entity. Therefore, selling more units to hospitals and health facilities is the primary goal. However, the use of the term “Robotic Surgery” has a different impact towards ordinary people who are not aware how the machine works. In most cases, this is interpreted as a surgical procedure in which a robot or a remotely operated robot will conduct. In reality, the Cyberknife is simply a radiation machine just like those conventional ones being used in hospitals for decades. The only difference is that Cyberknife can target the tumors with greater accuracy to deliver the dose of radiation needed for the treatment. There are certain issues in using Cyberknife which include ethical ones about profiteering and the very expensive treatment cost. There is also a legal issue about its effectiveness and risks which may prompt patients to file a lawsuit if their cancers do not attain the treatment level they wished for. With regards to security, there are no guarantees that the tumor simply was dissolved and that it will not affect other healthy cells. In summary, Cyberknife manufacturers should have first indicated in the marketing proposal that the machine is simply an alternative way to deliver radiation treatment and is not a new technology for surgery. Moreover, it should have provided some forms of disclaimer about its possible side effects so that patents can easily recognize the benefits it can give to them. Lastly, Cyberknife manufacturers should initiate the dialogue among the doctors and hospital staff in properly training them in using the equipment which in the long run will become a viable marketing strategy.


Ammar, A. (2014). Neurosurgical Ethics in Practice: Value-based Medicine. Springer.

Casto, J. (2013, September 8). Retrieved from

Gale, R. (2013, April 18). Accuray Falls on Recall of CyberKnife Radiosurgery System.

Retrieved from

Gomes, P. (2012). Medical Robotics: Minimally Invasive Surgery. Elsevier.

Li, J. (2013). Treating Adrenal Tumors in 26 Patients with CyberKnife: A Mono-Institutional

Experience. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080654

Samadi, D. (2012, March 29). Does CyberKnife® Radiosurgery for Prostate Cancer Add Up?

Retrieved from

Stein, R. (2009, February 20). Ethics on the edge of CyberKnife. Retrieved October 5, 2015,



Ammar, A. (2014). Neurosurgical Ethics in Practice: Value-based Medicine. Springer.

This book introduces the different ethical concerns with remote treatment options and actual surgery. According to the author, it may be difficult for the patients to understand risks in certain medical procedures. However, it regarded good explanation on balancing the options to be very important. Some neurosurgeons may guarantee the reduction f complication risks with a surgery. However, a Cyberknife example should be discussed thoroughly since it relies on pre-operative diagnosis.

Casto, J. (2013, September 8). Retrieved from

Casto’s article provides a better glimpse of how Cyberknife could be beneficial. Most report says that the treatment is expensive. Casto also mentioned that Cyberknife is more accurate compated to traditional radiation options. However, the fewer sessions could also lead to savings on the part of the patient. Moreover, fewer trips to the hospital reduce stress for the individuals with cancers.

Gale, R. (2013, April 18). Accuray Falls on Recall of CyberKnife Radiosurgery System. Retrieved from

In this post by Gale, he mentioned the recall of Cyberknife units as a preventative measure to limit legal damages. It is already implied that the recall is a marketing strategy to save the brand. However, Accuray has already lost 3.5% of its shares value due to the issue. The legal aspect of the recall may be measured on the number of patients who will not have successful cancer treatment. Moreover, Gale mentioned in his article that Accuray already claimed that there are no injuries involved with the defective Cyberknife parts.

Gomes, P. (2012). Medical Robotics: Minimally Invasive Surgery. Elsevier.

This book written by Gomes has presented arguments with regards to remote medical procedures as they become more prevalent. In the book, it has mentioned that Cyberknife was still not use extensively in the UK due to lack of reliable outcome studies. She said the NHS in the UK are not comfortable in providing the Cyberknife service due to costs it requires for the patients. There is also a need for proper training among the staff who would like to use the Cyberknife equipment. This therefore emphasizes on the ethical responsibility of medical facilities towards using new technologies.

Li, J. (2013). Treating Adrenal Tumors in 26 Patients with CyberKnife: A Mono-Institutional Experience. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080654

The research made by Li et al discussed the primary efficiency of Cyberknife in adrenal tumors. In the research, the Cyberknife treatment has become very beneficial to patients. This is especially true for those who cannot undergo surgical procedures. However, surrounding tissues has been exposed to lower doses of radiation. In summary, the technology has been found to be effective for lung and brain tumors.

Samadi, D. (2012, March 29). Does CyberKnife® Radiosurgery for Prostate Cancer Add Up? Retrieved from

Dr. David Samadi has an extensive experience in conducting prostate cancer treatment. He mentioned that it is not a good idea to overly rely on robotic treatment like Cyberknife since it does not provide post-operative medical analysis. In his post, he claims that Cyberknife may require a lifetime of PSA testing and tumor monitoring since it does not employ evaluation after the treatment. This is in contrast on what he does where he provides full support to his patients after operations. He can also give assurance on the success of surgical operations versus Cyberknife.

Stein, R. (2009, February 20). Ethics on the edge of CyberKnife. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from

Stein emphasized on the ethical marketing strategy of Cyberknife. His article pointed out the aggressive selling of units among hospitals. However, these units are not readily accessible by patients due to costs. Stein also mentioned that the accuracy of Cyberknife is its primary advantage. But the capitalist aspect of marketing is the ethical issue that needs to be addressed.


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