Elekta – The Often Overlooked Alternative
Industry experts know the truth: In the United States today, hospitals and clinics generally prefer the Varian TrueBeam® linear accelerator. It’s versatile, reliable, and capable of integrating seamlessly with Varian’s Eclipse™ and Aria® software systems. New and experienced staff alike can operate it easily and effectively. For more than 25 years in the medical linear accelerator business, we have seen how U.S. facilities seem to prefer the TrueBeam over other linacs.
However, many facilities overlook the Elekta Versa HD as a viable alternative to the TrueBeam, even though it is generally lower priced. Given the TrueBeam’s market dominance, why would facilities prefer to go a different way and purchase a Versa HD? We’ve compiled a list of reasons to consider it.
In the U.S. market, Elekta Versa HD linacs sell for a significantly lower price than Varian TrueBeams. This reflects the U.S. market’s preference for Varian vs. Elekta, although this disparity does not exist in other international markets, like in Europe. For price-sensitive facilities that prefer brand-new equipment over refurbished systems, a Versa HD can be a good option. In fact, a brand-new Versa HD often matches the price of a refurbished TrueBeam.
A Precise, Large-Field MLC
The Elekta Agility multileaf collimator (MLC) has 160 leaves compared to the TrueBeam’s 120 leaves, and many facilities rave about this MLC design. One advantage is that it can fully utilize the increased dose rates provided by the flattening free filter (FFF) modes. Another is that it has low leaf leakage, per Elekta. The time to treat is further reduced by the Monaco® treatment planning system’s market-leading sequencing algorithm.
Elekta also boasts that the Agility MLC fully utilizes the 40 cm x 40 cm MLC field. As a result, clinicians have less need to move the patient around on the table, improving treatment time and reducing the risks associated with in-treatment motion due to time on the table. The Versa HD’s kV and MV isocenters are congruent, increasing its delivery accuracy and leading to better quality assurance pass rates than competitors’.
A More Open Platform
Elekta promises that its software is vendor-agnostic and will work with virtually any other linear accelerator. MOSAIQ, Elekta’s Oncology Information System, has a long history of open access, and Elekta maintains this versatility and flexibility to the present day.
We like to think of Varian’s software as the Apple iPhone and Elekta’s software as Google’s Android system. One is more open, and the other is more closed. However, both have great features and very loyal customers.
What’s the benefit of a more open platform? It gives you the flexibility to operate different linacs at the same facility, switching from one brand to another, without having to purchase another Oncology Information System. In this way, facilities that choose an Elekta machine can save money on not only the initial purchase, but also on future equipment, because they will have the freedom to choose the brand that fits their budget without worrying about whether it will work with the existing Oncology Information System.
The Versa HD is a seventh-generation system that evolved from the Elekta Synergy, which has been around for decades. This translates to a highly reliable system. Many parts are compatible with previous generations, which also helps to keep prices for replacement parts down. Most importantly, Elekta says that the Versa HD provides nearly identical treatment delivery outcomes to those of competitors using newer systems, including the TrueBeam.
Elekta Versa HD Treatment Room
Lower Power Consumption
A comparison of planning guides shows that the Versa HD consumes 30% less power than the TrueBeam, thanks in large part to its magnetron-based RF production and the ability to turn off the chiller overnight. This translates to lower electrical costs, which can also be a factor for price-sensitive facilities.
A Few More Things…
Medical physicists who have worked with the Elekta Versa HD praise these key features:
- Faster MLCs for decreased treatment time
- Less interleaf leakage
- Deviceless 4D CBCT (cone beam C/T) with symmetry scan
- Lower CBCT dose, improving patient outcomes and reducing unintended exposure
- Greater head clearance to avoid collisions with the patient
The Varian TrueBeam is the preferred linear accelerator system in the U.S. today, but Elekta’s Versa HD has some strong advantages that may make it a viable alternative for many facilities.