January 12, 2004 — The radiation oncology department at Mount Vernon Hospital in Middlesex, near London, is using Varian’s new cone-beam CT three-dimensional imaging system from Varian Medical Systems to plan and set up advanced treatments for patients with breast and gynaecological cancers. The cone-beam CT imaging capability has been incorporated into the hospital’s Acuity& trade; treatment planning, simulation and verification system from Varian Medical Systems. The 3-D imaging capability has already been used with 148 patients at Mount Vernon.
“We’ve used cone-beam CT to capture high quality 3-D images of patients with breast and gynaecological cancers. Both for us and the patient, it has been an excellent tool which has made the whole process of planning and setting up treatments much faster and more accurate, as well as alleviating some of the burden on our conventional CT scanners. It’s particularly valuable for breast patients, some of whom cannot be imaged in a conventional CT scanner because we need them to lie with their arm behind their head, which makes it difficult for them to fit through a standard CT.” says DamuShah, superintendent radiographer at Mount Vernon.
In the past, staff at Mount Vernon would have been forced to conduct manual outlines on these patients, a process which involves manual measurement and calculations that can take up to ten minutes. With cone beam CT, that process takes less than two minutes. Varian’s Acuity system offers hospitals and clinics an all-encompassing solution for planning, simulating and verifying radiation therapy treatment to combat cancer. Installed in over 25 countries worldwide, it enables high quality digital X-ray images to be captured and analyzed, while a state-of-the-art respiration motion analysis system is available to allow doctors to see how tumours move as patients breathe and then adjust treatments to account for the motion. By incorporating cone-beam CT imaging technology, the Acuity system now enables clinicians to quickly acquire quality 3-D images of tumours and surrounding anatomy with a single rotation of the machine around the patient.
“We’ve designed this system to improve the quality of images and information available to the medical staff without any sacrifice in clinical workflow," adds Karla Knott, Acuity business unit manager.
With cone-beam CT on the Acuity device, volumetric digital images can be taken of patients who could not otherwise be scanned, either because of physical considerations or over-capacity on conventional CT scanners.CT options on conventional radiotherapy simulators produce only a single CT slice per 360° gantry rotation, whereas Acuity cone-beam CT allows the acqusition and reconstruction of 15-17cm of volumetric data in a single rotation.
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