For more than 100 years, radiation therapy has been used in cancer care, but the primary challenges have remained the same:
- How can doctors be sure the beam is reaching the tumor as planned?
- How can radiation dose to healthy tissue around the tumor be minimized?
With a fresh approach and a new design, the TomoTherapy Hi-Art treatment system addresses these needs at the Brain and Body Radiosurgery Program.
Along with Gamma Knife brain radiosurgery, the TomoTherapy Hi-Art treatment system is one of the most advanced and versatile radiation therapy systems commercially available. The system, now in place at UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, is used for noninvasive treatment of a wide variety of cancers in the body. These new capabilities give clinicians more control in the development of precise treatment plans and more confidence in the accuracy of treatment delivery.
What is Tomotherapy?
Conventional radiation therapy machines deliver a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles. The Hi-Art treatment system uses its unique CT scanner design to deliver radiation continuously from all angles around the patient. More angles and more precise modulation result in dose distributions that conform to tumors like never before. This minimizes damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
The Hi-Art treatment system looks like a CT scanner because it includes a CT scanner. It lets clinicians efficiently acquire 3-D CTrue™ images of every patient daily. With these images, clinicians can check the size, shape and location of tumors before each treatment. Then they can compare that day's image with the one used for planning, to make sure that radiation will be directed to the right location. Daily CTrue images can also be used to analyze and, if necessary, modify a patient's treatment at any point during the treatment course.
Other Reasons to Consider Tomotherapy?
Because no incision is made, there is a low risk of infection or hemorrhage. Complications from general anesthesia are avoided since it is usually not required. The high accuracy of the gamma rays limits radiation exposure to surrounding tissues.
TomoTherapy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Most patients experience little to no discomfort during the procedure or recovery and are usually able to resume their regular activities the next day.
What Can You Expect from a Tomotherapy Treatment?
A typical course of radiation therapy involves a Monday through Friday daily process. The number of treatments varies by case. After checking in, the patient is taken to the TomoTherapy treatment room, where a radiation therapist will position him or her on the Hi-Art systems couch. Patients usually lie on their backs and are sometimes fitted with a special device to help them hold still during treatment. The experience is similar to having a CT scan or an X-ray taken, and TomoTherapy treatments are completely painless.
On average, the full daily TomoTherapy procedure takes 20 minutes from the moment the patient enters the treatment room until they leave. First, the couch will move the patient through the machine once for daily CTrue imaging. Based on these images, the therapist may fine tune the patient's position via small couch adjustments. The couch will move the patient through the machine once again, this time more slowly as the Hi-Art system delivers the daily treatment.
Dr. Ronald McGarry on the benefits of TomoTherapy
Brain Body Radiosurgery ProgramBasement
UK Markey Cancer Center800 Rose St.
Lexington KY 40508Fax 859-257-4931Monday - Friday: 8:00 am-5:00 pm