Linear accelerators have two different components that allow for images of the patient to be made while the patient is on the linear accelerator:
1. MV Imaging Devices. These devices, also referred to as EPIDs (Electronic Portal Imaging Devices), produce an image of the patient by the use of the mega voltage (MV) beam of radiation that the linear accelerator emits to treat the tumor(s).
2. KV Imaging Devices. These devices produce clearer, x-ray images of the patient through the use of an x-ray tube that is mounted onto the linear accelerator.
Linear accelerators have become increasingly more sophisticated over the last two decades. The advent of IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy), as well as CBCT (cone beam CT) and VMAT (volumetric arc therapy) means that more data is generated from the linear accelerator than ever before.
In order to keep all of the patient data organized, a Record and Verify System (R&V) should be used. An R&V system is simply a computer server and related software that organizes and stores all of the data that is fed into, or captured from, the linear accelerator and the related patient being treated.
The Project Management Team at Radiology Oncology Systems (known as R.O.S. for short) recently completed a major project involving installation of a refurbished Elekta Synergy linear accelerator system at a major public institution in Australia. Such an installation generally takes between eight to twelve weeks. In this case, ROS’s team provided an “expedited installation” and completed the work in just under four weeks.
Tommy Hughes, Sr. Manager, Field Operations at ROS, stated, “we received full acceptance to OEM standards by the facility’s physics & medical staff in under four weeks—this is a record for our company, and a big accomplishment for our team”.
In 2013, a survey was conducted among medical physicists and published on the Global Medical Physics list server. The survey asked physicists which higher photon energy is preferred, primarily between 10MV, 12MV, 15MV and 18MV.
All linear accelerators manufactured today include the 6MV photon energy, which is the most widely used energy for performing IMRT. However, higher photon energy options exist, and the selection can often be confusing.
Who better to ask than the medical physics community? The results, we found, were surprising. Given the choice to alter the energy pairs on their linear accelerators, physicists chose 10MV as the preferred second energy.
When is purchasing a used linear accelerator a good idea?
Purchasing a used linear accelerator system is not recommended for every facility. New equipment is often a better solution for many customers. If your center requires the latest technology available in the market today, or if you are planning on installing a machine that will not be replaced for a longer period of time (at least in the next 10-15 years) then a brand new machine, or an almost-new machine, is often the better choice.
Many radiation oncology centers often struggle with the idea of new vs. used equipment.
The Varian iX linear accelerator (LINAC) provides targeted treatment for your oncology patients. This advanced model is capable of disrupting cancer cells without harming the surrounding normal tissue. It features tumor-targeting technology that can be used on any area of the body appropriate for radiation therapy. In addition, it offers versatile imaging options that help clinicians better care for their patients with both short-term and long-term treatments. It has the ability to receive future upgrades to stay on top of cutting-edge technology, and with a variety of patient treatment options, it’s a smart investment for dynamic health care providers. This state-of-the-art linear accelerator is available as a pre-owned system from Radiology Oncology Systems. This particular Varian iX unit has been meticulously inspected to ensure it meets manufacturer’s specifications. This ensures that the equipment functions reliably and continues to provide high-quality radiation treatment for every patient. This iX model was manufactured in 2012 and is the newest Varian iX currently on the secondary market.