Tag Archives: linear accelerator services

What is a Linear Accelerator and What Does it Do?

Linear accelerators, LINAC, are used in the treatment of cancer.  High energy x-rays (electrons) are shaped to conform to the size and shape of the patient’s tumor and delivered using a LINAC.   The radiation, simply put, is used to destroy cancerous cells.  They are delivered in the shape of the tumor to hopefully eliminate damage to the healthy tissues surrounding the cancerous tumor.  A LINAC offers several built-in features, depending on the model, that make sure that the prescribed dose of radiation is delivered.

If radiation has been scheduled and will be delivered using a linear accelerator your radiation oncologist will work in conjunction with both a radiation dosimetrist and medical physicist to create a treatment plan that is uniquely designed for you.  Your physician will review your treatment plan with you before it begins and put quality assurance procedures in place to be certain that all parties involved are on the same page and that your treatment will be delivered in the exact same manner.

What is linear accelerator equipment used for?

LINAC, which is short for linear accelerator, is a large-scale piece of medical equipment used in external beam radiation treatment.  Radiation is a treatment option that is given to patients that have been diagnosed with cancer.  Linear accelerators are used to treat a variety of cancers throughout the body.  The LINAC distributes high-energy x-rays (electrons) directly on to the cancerous tumor.  The treatment is deployed in a manner that allows the healthy tissues to receive less of a direct hit than the tumor to help prevent damage.  Several techniques are used when delivering radiation from LINAC systems including:

  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
  • Stereotactic Body Radio Therapy (SBRT)

How does a LINAC work?

Microwave technology is used in LINAC to speed up electrons within the wave guide (a part inside the linear accelerator).  It then lets the sped-up electrons to strike a dense metal target to produce the high-energy x-ray that is delivered to the cancerous tumor.  Before the radiation (high-energy x-ray beams) are delivered they are shaped into custom beams that match up with the patient’s unique tumor.

Radiation beams are manipulated into the shape of the tumor as they exit the LINAC by a multi-leaf collimator.  The multi-leaf collimator is uniquely designed to each patient and is integrated into the head of the LINAC.  Patients are required to lie completely motionless on a treatment couch.  In order to make sure that the patient is in the correct position laser are used as guides.  The couch that patients are lying on can be manipulated about to make sure the laser beams are in the correct location.  radiation beams are directed out of the LINAC through the gantry.  The gantry revolves around the patient on the couch.  Radiation can literally be delivered from any number of angles simply by rotating the gantry on the LINAC and moving the couch that the patient is lying on.

Who runs the LINAC?

Radiation therapy is prescribed by a patient’s radiation oncologist.  They are the individual in charge of making sure you receive the appropriate dosage of radiation.  Together a medical physicist and dosimetrist decide how the prescribed dose of radiation will be delivered and how long the process will take.  Finally, a radiation therapist will operate the LINAC to give the patient the prescribed dose of radiation treatment.

How is the patient’s safety guaranteed?

The safety of the patient and the radiation therapist are of utmost importance and therefore secured in several ways throughout treatment.   Before treatment is carried out a unique plan is created.  This strategy is evaluated and approved through a few specialists working together including your radiation oncologist, radiation dosimetrist, and medical physicist.  The proposal is double, and triple checked before treatment can be delivered and quality-assurance procedures are done to make sure that the therapy is delivered according to the plan.

LINAC safety is also another important factor in quality assurance.  Linear accelerators have several built-in features that work to ensure a proper dose of radiation is given.  Daily equipment checks are performed on linear accelerators.  Radiation therapists check to ensure radiation intensity is uniform throughout the beam.  Monthly checks are performed by medical physicists monthly and annually on linear accelerators. There are also several internal checks within the LINAC that don’t let the machine run unless all the prescribed treatment requirements are in place.

Radiation therapists continue to observe the patient during treatment using closed-circuit TV monitors.  A microphone is in place within the treatment room to allow patients and therapists to speak during treatment.  Imaging tools are regularly examined to be sure that beam position is the same as it was in the original plan.

The LINAC operator is crucial as well.  Linear accelerator equipment sits within a room that consists of lead and concrete walls.  This prevents radiation beams from exiting the treatment room.  LINAC systems only release radiation when it is turned on so the accidental risk of exposure to radiation is low.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Planning for and Purchasing a Linear Accelerator

A lot of different aspects go into the purchasing procedure of equipment used throughout medical facilities, health clinics, and hospitals.  Unlike other business, hospitals are not only looking for equipment that is affordable, they are searching for equipment that provides clients with effective treatment, precise results, and quality care.  In order to do so, the purchasing team of the facility must work in conjunction with physicians and critical care staff to plan for new equipment purchases.

Planning & Understanding Your Clinical Goals

Critical personnel must understand the clinical goals of the clients.  Right from the start it is important that all facility members involved recognize the types of patients that will be treated, and the technology needed to deliver top notch radiation therapy to them.  Is important that you are fully automated and digital?  Does the facility need to consider EPID, Electronic Portal Imaging Device?  Will images of tumors be taken on a daily or less frequently?  If you will be then an IGRT solution must be selected.  It is also important to know how the tumor will be defined for treatment.  Are you going to need a multi-leaf collimator with leaves (MLC)?  Answering these questions will help your facility narrow down your exact need and the piece of equipment that will fill these needs.

Another crucial element in planning for a new piece of equipment, especially one as large as a linear accelerator, CT scanner, or other radiotherapy equipment is the location in which it will be installed.  In new construction you will have to consider the machines that are to be places now as well as technology that will be used in the future.  It will be crucial that the building has room for expansion for further equipment purchases as well as the technology appropriate for today’s need.  When renovating an existing space within the facility it is important to consider all of the constraints present such as shielding.

Having an established timetable for any project, especially the installation of LINAC systems, is the only way to successfully manage a successful health care facility when the normal flow could be disrupted.  Of course, it also helps prevent common sense issues such as having a space that is ready for equipment when it is delivered to be installed, set up, programmed, and ready for hands on training.  What good is a piece of equipment it is sitting in the hallway unable to be used?  It is important for facilities and personnel to establish a timetable for each milestone along the way, including a completion date.  There are many moving elements, including a number of experts, when installing a large scaled piece of equipment.  To prevent IT specialists from arriving before the equipment is ready for them to complete software installation and such, a timeline is necessary.

Once a clinical goal and time table have been set, now comes the time to create a budget for the acquisition of your new equipment.  Once a budget is set you will know if you should look into new, refurbished, or used equipment.  Quality refurbished linear accelerators and reconditioned CT scanners are ideal when working within a budget.  Prices vary for a number of reasons including: the age of the equipment, features, technology, and manufacturer.  When budgeting for large scaled equipment make sure to allocate for additional products and services that will be needed to use them successfully.  Radiation therapy includes large scaled equipment such as linear accelerators but also patient positioning devices and the such.  It is just as important to budget for the extras as it is the initial piece of equipment.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.

Predictive Maintenance: A Strong Strategy for The Longevity of LINAC Systems

If you are responsible for the operation of the linear accelerator equipment at your facility than you already know that to keep the machine running as accurately as possible it has to be maintained properly. Whether you are talking about some scheduled outage so that you can run all the necessary tests, do diagnostic and replace parts that have shown that they are in need of replacement before they go out.

 

Establishing a good Predictive Maintenance Schedule

 

One of the best ways to ensure that your Linear Accelerator equipment will be ready to go if it is necessary to be used for treating a patient. One of the ways to ensure that your equipment is running properly is to be sure that all the linear accelerator components are running correctly. Having a good maintenance schedule requires you to have linear accelerator replacements parts to be able to complete certain types of maintenance.

 

Benefits of Predictive Maintenance

 

Dramatically reduce equipment downtime – By being able to identify potential problems before they rise to the level of affecting the proper operation of the linear accelerator equipment. This makes it highly likely that your machine will be available when the need arises for the machine. This also means that you can make plans to have specific linear accelerator replacements parts on hand when they would be needed to be replaced.

 

Diagnostic equipment is considerably cheaper – The latest technology being used in today’s diagnostic equipment and the software that they use to run are cheaper to acquire and this makes them considerably cheaper to use.  When you have the right equipment to do the job, you are far more likely to be able to keep your equipment running properly.

 

It can be used effectively for any size company – The linear accelerator equipment typically uses sensors that make it possible to check the proper operation of the machine. However, this does not offer real-time data, so it is not the most effective method. This is where the diagnostic equipment used in predictive maintenance is far more effective. This makes it possible for more companies to be able to use predictive maintenance, even if they are a smaller size company.

 

Real-time data makes catching potential problems much more likely – When it comes to detecting potential issues having real-time data is the best way to. This is one of biggest advantages to having the diagnostic equipment in the hands of your maintenance personnel to be able to schedule them to proactively check all the components of the machine to ensure that they are working properly.

 

It is the most proactive form of equipment maintenance – There are three distinct forms of equipment maintenance that a company can use to keep its equipment running and reducing downtime. The three types of maintenance are reactive, preventative and proactive maintenance. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to which one is the better however when patient care is the most important factor, as it in the treatment of cancer, predictive maintenance allows planned downtime instead of emergent care.

 

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.