Surface Guided Radiation Therapy

image of patient undergoing surface guided radiation therapy

What is Surface Guided Radiation Therapy?

Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT) is a rapidly growing technology used to improve accuracy with radiation treatment. SGRT is used for treating nearly every cancer type. During setup and treatment stereo vision technology precisely tracks a patient’s surface. The accuracy of SGRT also allows better quality assurance, increases patient safety, improves treatment comfort and speed, and expands the range of services that can be provided.

How SGRT Works

SGRT uses the patient’s external surface to help ensure that radiation dose is consistently applied in accordance with the treatment plan. This technology uses three camera units to monitor thousands of points on the patient’s skin. SGRT is a powerful quality assurance tool which reduces errors related to patient positioning. This technology does not rely on radiation exposure as do other commonly used forms of image guidance.

SGRT does more than verify the patient’s position before treatment. Additionally, it also tracks patient motion throughout treatment. The system senses movements in six degrees of freedom. Up and down, forward and back, and side to side, plus all rotations. SGRT does this with sub-millimeter accuracy. This real-time positioning verification also functions as a safeguard during treatment. The radiation beam is only activated once the patient is correctly in place. The beam is immediately stopped if the patient moves.

Benefits of SGRT

SGRT enhances radiation quality and precision. It also eliminates the need for marks or permanent tattoos on the patient’s body. This system also shortens treatment time and streamlines daily treatments. This versatile technology expands the range of services which can be provided.

SGRT with deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) significantly reduces damage to the heart from radiation therapy for breast cancer. It allows for respiratory gating: A technique improving the quality and accuracy of radiation for lung and certain gastrointestinal cancers. SGRT improves treatment quality and comfort for brain and head and neck cancers.

It also provides a way to perform linac-based stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain tumors. Linac-based SRS gives similar patient outcomes, with better patient comfort and faster treatments. This is compared to other common and invasive technologies.

Advanced Technology Used By Advanced Institutions

GRT technology is now in 37 of the top 50 U.S. News “Best Hospitals for Cancer” as reported in 2019. We use SGRT in the treatment of left breast cancer to protect the heart. However, we also use it when treating other cancers as well. These include cancers of the lung, right breast, prostate, gastrointestinal tract, brain, head and neck and cancers of the extremities (arms and legs). Lastly, we find it helpful for more complicated radiation treatments such as stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy.

Image of a patient preparing for surface guided radiation therapy