Choosing a Medical Linear Accelerator? So Many Options.
Over the past several years, a number of new radiotherapy devices have been developed, each offering unique features and benefits. If you are a clinician seeking to purchase a new linear accelerator, the choices are daunting.
In the U.S. radiation therapy market today, the Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator remains as the standard of care in many hospitals and clinics; yet its technology was first introduced about 10 years ago. Will the TrueBeam be replaced as the most popular linear accelerator? And which machine(s) will replace it in the coming years? There have never been more options to choose from. Some LINACs have already commercialized, like the ViewRay MRIdian, the Elekta Unity, and the ZapX Radiosurgery system. Others are still in development, like the promising Reflexion X1 or the Akesis Gemini. The Varian Halcyon and Ethos models also promise to be major contenders for years and years to come.
The next few years will be pivotal as the radiotherapy market determines what next generation systems will become mainstream. During this period of trial and discovery, some sites are choosing pre-owned medical equipment, like Varian Trilogy, Elekta Synergy and even refurbished Varian TrueBeam models to meet their immediate treatment needs. These sites will be saving the majority of their funds for the next generation equipment. Will it be the MR-Linac or PET/CT Linac or something else that will soon be released?
Until then, these facilities believe better results can be obtained by connecting and educating referring physicians about general advancements in radiation therapy using well established, proven technologies such as VMAT, SRS and IGRT.
In summary, with the absence of affordable new generation linear accelerators, cuts in reimbursement and increased competitive pressure from providers, a refurbished linear accelerator may be, at least for now, a less risky, affordable option during this period of transition.