Radiation treatment therapy has come a long way in the last few decades. For proper dosage treatment, locational accuracy is essential but challenging to achieve, as the slightest patient movement without proper immobilization would cause the radiation to miss the essential treatment location and possibly harm unaffected areas. In order to avoid this, invasive metal frames that must be physically screwed into the patient’s skull were once the norm. In addition to being painful, frightening and increasing the risk of harm to the patient, these frames necessitated the presence of a surgeon to ensure that the frame was properly placed, and the treatment required a long commitment from the patient that required an all-day hospital stay, if not more time for recovery.
Today’s systems are more advanced, less invasive, and more successful both in terms of patient comfort and efficacy of treatment. New technology utilizing vacuum fixation allow similar or better immobilization results, without necessitating invasive surgical procedures. SRS cones can create pencil beams of radiation that pinpoint treatment areas far more precisely than previous procedures, reducing risk of damage to unaffected areas. With vacuum fixation of the frame to the patient’s upper palate, the patient need not even bite down on the mouthpiece: the system performs the immobilization for them. These techniques reduce the fear caused by invasive frames while improving patient comfort.
Invasive frame procedures require more staff, more time, and far more incursion on the patient than newer radiation therapy immobilization techniques—without a frame, there’s no need for a surgeon, and without this extra step, patients no longer need to stay in the hospital all day, making it possible to fractionate the procedure. With treatments done over a series of sessions, radiation can be dealt in smaller doses, and the patient can be in and out in an hour. A vacuum fixation system with SRS cones makes the entire procedure, from set up to patient discharge, more efficient, more accurate, and more successful.
Vacuum fixation technology has created a lot of change in radiation therapy treatment. It provides equal immobilization to invasive frames that require surgeons and an all-day procedure, in addition to allowing for new treatment options that improve radiation dosage and accuracy. As the industry moves forward, considering the changes made to radiation therapy immobilization techniques will aid manufacturers in continuing to improve the procedures needed to help patients recover.