The First Step
The first step in designing a radiation therapy treatment plan is treatment simulation, wherein a CT and/or MR scan is conducted to allow radiation oncologists to accurately delineate the tumor volume and surrounding normal structures. An immobilization device that would minimize patient movement during treatment is usually made at the same time.
The department is equipped with a Philips Large Bore multi-slice CT scanner capable of 4-dimensional (4D) CT motion management for breathing motions. Recently, our department has unveiled a Philips Ambition 1.5 Tesla MR scanner exclusively for our patients. These MR Images display excellent soft tissue contrast and are most beneficial for cancers of the brain, liver, GYN, and prostate. Other image modalities, such as positron emission tomography (PET), are also frequently used during simulation for better tumor volume evaluation.
The department uses a centralized multi-modality image registration and archiving system, Velocity AI, so that all resulting images can be viewed and analyzed by relevant UF Shands teams, enhancing our collaborative efforts. Patient diagnostic images are shared through the hospital’s picture archiving and communications system (PACS), which stores images and reports electronically.