IGRT: image-guided radiation therapy

IGRT or image-guided radiation therapy is one of the latest applications of technology in the medical sector. It is perfect for maximum control and precision in delivering treatments to the tumor.

For example, when starting an intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatment in which the intensity of each beam has to be regulated according to the type of tumor, size, area…

Thanks to the sophisticated and advanced radiotherapy equipment we have today, it is possible to administer sophisticated treatments with great precision. What happens is that the human body is not so precise, since there are normal physiological movements in the organs of the body.

This variability in each organ limits the precision with which the treatment can be administered, producing a series of uncertainties and errors. In order to compensate for these errors, the margins of the treatment fields are widened, which inevitably causes more tissue to be irradiated than necessary, which increases the risk of long-term sequelae and increases the risk of side effects. Thanks to this technology, the patient is given the radiation dose specifically marked for the type of each tumor, i.e. the dose that is strictly necessary. This technology makes it possible.

What are the objectives of IGRT?

Image-guided radiation therapy, or IGRT, is used to reduce uncertainties and narrow treatment field margins. The particular point of this treatment technique is that, each day and once the patient is placed on the treatment table before the corresponding session, the position of the organ to be treated, as well as the adjacent healthy organs, is verified and compared with the theoretical situation in which they should be.

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If the situation is correct, there is peace of mind that the treatment is being performed correctly and the session is administered. In the event that the position is not correct, with a displacement of one millimeter or more, the system analyzes the existing displacements and the movements of the treatment table that must be made to compensate for them. Once they are made, it is verified that the position is correct and the corresponding fraction is then administered.

Advantages of IGRT

Thanks to IGRT, there is certainty that each day the treatment is performed where it should be performed, and that adjacent healthy structures and tissues that should not receive radiation are actually outside the field.

Thus, the great advantage of IGRT is that the uncertainties practically disappear, so that the safety margin to be left around the organ to be treated is minimal, so that the amount of irradiated tissue is greatly reduced, tolerance to treatment is improved and the frequency and severity of side effects are reduced.

For more information on IGRT, please consult an oncology specialist.