The medical sector has realized great developments over the recent due to technological innovations. Image guidance technology is in this case a special innovation which has transformed the medical sector. The invention of image guidance technologies has brought the world closer to realizing the goals of treating cancer among other diseases.
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This technology has a great role in medical planning, diagnosis, and treatment. Image-Guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is useful in the treatment of cancerous tumors. This process involves the use of radiation treatment guided by imaging tests, like ultrasound, CT scans, and X-rays. All these tests are conducted in the treatment room and help doctors to plan for treatment.
Image guidance technology is very beneficial in the sense that it reduces treatment toxicity, is safer and has fewer side effects if precisely executed. This essay will discuss and analyze the use of image guidance, its advantages and disadvantages in radiotherapy processes.
Use of image guidance
Image guidance technology is used in scanning and testing patients so as to plan for treatment. This technology enables doctors to offer quality treatment by using radiotherapy and reduce possible side effects. Image guidance technology is used to improve accuracy in the treatment room. Doctors are able to monitor the radiation field placement as well as reduce harmful exposure during radiation treatments.
IGRT is used to increase data collected during therapy. Doctors are able to mobilize bigger volumes of data from individuals or populations of patients by using image guidance technology in the treatment process (Xing et al, 2006).
Image guidance in the treatment room is used to treat defined cancerous tumors. This technology is used to protect the tissue from receiving higher doses of radiation above the standard. Image guided radiation therapy is a key component in the radiation therapy process. IGRT incorporates imaging coordinates, which are used in treatment planning.
This technology is used to ensure a patient is well positioned in the treatment room, thus avoiding potential harm to tissues and organs. Image guidance ensures robust treatment strategies. This is attained through the localization of information offered by the image guidance technology. Patient modeling is enabled through the use of image-guided radiation therapy (Evans, 2008).
Image guidance plays a crucial role in the treatment room in treatment planning. This technology does not only enable treatment planning process and alignment techniques but also helps with verification techniques. Image guidance help in alignment of skin marks to enable accuracy in radiation. Image guidance is used together with KC X-ray to enable diagnostic-quality X-rays needed in alignment verification prior to actual treatment.
The images produced from the scans and tests are used by the physician and technician to plan for the treatment process. This is very useful in diagnosing, planning, and treatment processes since it yields to higher accuracy levels (Lecchi et al, 2008).
Image guidance facilitates the planning process for treatment, which helps in addressing diseases like prostate, breast, and lung cancer among others. The high level of accuracy offered by image guidance enables evaluation of the extent of tumor in prostate, lung, and breast cancer.
With this technology, doctors can easily differentiate the level tumors, if intense, low, or medium, hence facilitates planning for treatment. Image guidance is used to identify the extent of tumors through the use of molecular imaging. Doctors are able to evaluate tumors both at the location of origin, potential metastatic sites, and lymph nodes (Price and Heap, 2008).
In the treatment room, image guidance is used in dose verification. Based on the increasing complexity and conformity with proton dose distributions, there is a need to emphasize quality control. This can be effectively undertaken using image guidance.
This technology helps in verifying and recording dose distribution. Present developments in image guidance technology enable its use in respiratory-gated proton in the treatment room.
This phenomenon helps in treatment planning for specific stages in the breathing cycle, thus ensuring comfort to the patients. Synchronization of these proton beams with respiratory phase enables the timely freezing of the tumor (Lecchi et al, 2008).
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Image guidance has great in enhancing radiation therapy and treatment planning. The use of this technology not only leads to dose delivery, accurate tumor definition but also facilitates treatment strategies. Image guidance in the treatment room is used for improving accuracy and precision in the administration of treatment.
This technology is very useful in treating tumors in body parts prone to movement such as liver, lungs, and prostate gland. Tumors located in sensitive tissues and organs are also treated using image guidance (Mundt and Roeske, 2011).
Advantages of image guidance technologies in radiotherapy processes
The implementation of image guidance technologies into radiotherapy processes has many benefits. To begin with, image guidance greatly reduces treatment toxicity and ensures safe and accurate delivery of treatment. Use of imaging guidance offers good experiences to patients in the sense that it is painless, whether done before or during radiation therapy sessions.
Due to the high levels of precision, cases of side effects are minimal. The correct use of the technology has enabled imaging specialists to optimize cancer-fighting capabilities through radiation treatment as well as to minimize the potential side effects.
Image guidance is beneficial in the sense that it gives doctors and physicians the ability to effectively plan for treatment. Image guidance technologies offer more opportunities for diagnosis, planning and treatment. This is mostly in the fight against cancer (Dawson and Sharpe, 2006).
Disadvantages of image guidance technologies in radiotherapy processes
Image guidance has many side effects which may complicate the health of the patient and also that of the physician. Damage of healthy cells, tissues, and orgasms is possible with image guidance is care and precision are not observed. Image guided radiation therapy results in early and late side effects depending on the radiation or dosage received.
Some of the common side effects of image guided radiation therapy include skin problems, irritation, fatigue, tiredness, swollen skin, headaches, diarrhea, hair loss, urinary changes, and nausea among others (Timmerman and Xing, 2009).
The invention of image guidance technology has been of great help in the health sector, where it has facilitated diagnosis and treatment planning for different health problems. This technology is a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer in the sense that it facilitates diagnosis, planning, dosage, and treatment.
Image guidance has proved to be beneficial due to its high level of accuracy and precision, which ensures efficiency in decision-making and treatment process. On the contrary, image guidance can result into dangerous side effects if not well administered. In order to reap the full benefits of image guidance technology, care and precision should be considered in its application.
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Lecchi, M. et al. (2008). Current concepts on imaging in radiotherapy. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. Vol 35, p821-837.
Mundt, A. and Roeske, J. (2011). Image-Guided Radiation Therapy: A Clinical Perspective. London: Routldge.
Price, P. and Heap, G. (2008). Implementing image-guided radiotherapy in the UK: Plans for a co- ordinated UK research and development strategy. The British Journal of Radiology. Vol 81, p379–382.
Timmerman, R. and Xing, L. (2009). Image-Guided and Adaptive Radiation Therapy. New York: Prentice Hall.
Xing, L. et al. (2006). Overview of image-guided radiation therapy. Medical Dosimetry, Vol 31 (2), p91-112.