2560 Enterprise Road East
Clearwater, Florida 33759
Phone: (727) 796-5354
www.urologyspecialistsradiationcenter.com
 
 
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    IMAGE GUIDED RADIATION THERAPY (IGRT):

    Image Guided Radiation Therapy, more commonly known as IGRT, is currently the most accurate treatment method available for External Beam Radiation.

    From the images taken on your initial simulation which are used for planning your treatment, another image of your treatment area in your body is sent to the treatment machine. This picture is derived from your particular position that your plan was made from. It is like a “blueprint” of your body parts in the proper position.

    Every day when you lay on the table for treatment, the Radiation Therapists will first align you via your external marks on your skin, and then they will take several x-ray images and match your daily images to those “blueprints”. This is how we are capable of lining up your internal body parts to within millimeters of exact accuracy.

    To take the images, the Linear Accelerator has multiple robotic arms which swing out for the x-ray images, and then swing back in, snug with the machine for treatment.
    Once the Radiation Team matches your images perfectly, they depress a button that applies the shifts to the table to align you properly with the image. This is all done at the treatment console so much time is saved by not having to go in and out of the treatment room.

    The fact that we can match body parts so accurately is key when it comes to sparing your normal tissues and/or critical organs. Knowing where your critical organs are at the exact moment of treatment is how we can comfortably deliver higher doses of radiation to the cancerous tissues and put a smaller “margin” or close extra tissue in our high dose region.

    The rectum and bladder are known to vary in size and shape depending on their fullness. This can push on the prostate moving it out of the target. The majority of our patient’s choosing treatment for prostate cancer will have tiny metal markers implanted in their prostate a week before treatment. The metal markers show up white on the x-rays and assist us with the prostate gland match-up each day for treatment. This allows us to be sure that if your bladder or rectum is pushing more or less on the prostate than we planned, we are still lining your prostate gland up to the radiation beam.

    Cone-beam CT is also used for accurate treatment setup. The CBCT takes axial slices of the target area that enables comparison with the initial planning CT to verify the target prior to treatment delivery. The therapists and doctor are able to view the internal organs and target area in real time to check setup accuracy and if there has been any changes in size or shape of internal organs or structures. For example, we can see how full the bladder is, how empty the rectum is and the exact location of the prostate. Adjustments are made in millimeters if necessary to be on the exact treatment area before daily treatment is given.

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