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 set-up 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 safegaurd during treatment. The radiation beam is only activated once the patient is correctly in place.  The beam is immediately stopped if the patient moves.

Beam Off:

SGRT senses the patient is out of alignment.

Beam On:

SGRT confirms the patient is aligned for treatment.

Treatment Screen out of tolerance.

Treatment Screen in tolerance.

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 streamline daily treatments significantly.  This versatile technology lastly 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 patients comfort and faster treatments.  This is compared to other common and invasive technologies.  


Advanced technology used by advanced institutions

SGRT technology is now in 37 of the top 50 US 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 also it when treating other cancers as well.  These include cancers of the lung, right breast, prostate, gastrointestinal, 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,

Learn more about SGRT.


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