What Treatment Planning Systems are used for VMAT?
VMAT stands for Volumetric Arc Therapy, a relatively new technique in radiation therapy that speeds up the delivery of radiation to the target. Unlike in conventional IMRT treatments, the linear accelerator must rotate several times around the patient or make repeated stops and starts to treat the tumor from multiple angles. VMAT can deliver the dose to the entire tumor in a 360-degree rotation.
An increasing number of facilities are looking at VMAT capability when buying used linear accelerator systems. One of the challenges with utilizing VMAT is that it requires both hardware and software on the linear accelerator, and it’s also an expensive upgrade in the treatment planning system.
VMAT accomplishes several key objectives:
- It can increase patient comfort, since the patient spends less time on the treatment couch. Treatments that used to take over 10 minutes can now be done is as little as two to three minutes.
- It increases patient throughput. It’s not unusual to see 50 or more patients being treated daily on a machine with VMAT capability.
- It has the potential to improve patient outcomes, since the delivery of radiation to the tumor happens faster and has more of an impact.
There are currently five treatment planning systems available that can run VMAT treatment planning:
Treatment planning systems are generally purchased directly from the manufacturer and are independent of the pre-owned linear accelerator system.
Many facilities choose to upgrade their existing treatment planning system to VMAT capability instead of buying a new one, to save on the investment and to reduce the learning curve.
VMAT is a relatively new and expensive software upgrade seen in the used linear accelerator market. Before deciding to buy a pre-owned linear accelerator with VMAT capability, be sure to factor in the additional costs of the treatment planning system that will be required to implement a VMAT program. Often, the treatment planning system can cost more than the linear accelerators system.
ROS offers quality, pre-owned linear accelerator systems with VMAT capability. Our inventory of equipment changes weekly, so be sure to contact us for your next pre-owned equipment purchase.