Acting Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapist, Mid-Western Radiation Oncology Centre, Mater Private Healthcare, Limerick
Surface guided radiotherapy (SGRT) is a technique that uses non-ionising and non-invasive camera technology to track patients’ surface in 3D. Both for setup and motion management during radiotherapy treatment delivery.
SGRT is a radiotherapy technique designed to improve the accuracy of patient treatment. During the treatment, a camera shines a red speckled pattern on the body surface of the patient to monitor exact positions for precisely targeted radiation. This process ensures that the treatment area receives the maximum dose of radiation therapy. While the surrounding, healthy tissue receives a much lower dose.
Initially this technique is available to certain categories of patients. Particular diagnosis determines eligibility for this technique.
Fewer permanent tattoos
All radiotherapy patients currently require permanent tattoos on their skin. This marks the area(s) where the radiation treatment needs to be delivered. During radiotherapy treatment, it is vital that radiation is administered to the same area each time. Therefore, marking the planned positions with a permanent tattoo eliminates potential errors in relocating the planned positions for future treatments.
Replicating exact positions on the body using cameras
The SGRT system will allow for a reduction in the number of tattoos given to patients. The SGRT cameras can reproduce the exact planned position. This system allows for real time monitoring of patient position so, if the patient moves during treatment, the radiation can be automatically paused until they are back in the planned position.
The aim in the future is in fact to become a tattoo-less centre for certain treatment sites. This would significantly reduce treatment time and improve the overall patient experience. Only by taking away these permanent reminders of their treatment and also their disease.