Tag Archives: refurbished radiology equipment

Maintenance Programs For Small and Large Scaled Medical Equipment Facilities

Once installed medical equipment, such as linear accelerators, CT scanners, and other large scaled radiation therapy equipment must be properly maintained to ensure accurate results.  Regular maintenance and service improves the longevity of equipment and increases equipment reliability.

More often than not, health care facilities do not have the budget to maintain an in house equipment care team, instead services on equipment is outsourced.  Medical equipment is specialized, and sophisticated, biomedical engineers are responsible for the services performed to ensure they are done properly, in a timely fashion, and by qualified service professionals.

There is a complexity in managing and properly maintaining large scaled medical equipment, such as linear accelerators.  This complexity exists for several reasons including:

  • The specialization of equipment throughout medical facilities
  • The integration of medical equipment and electronic networks
  • The increase in requirements for compliance, safety, reliability, and accuracy
  • The need for outsourcing medical equipment maintenance and repair

It is crucial that these elements are all focused on during the maintenance of facilities medical equipment inventory.  This ensures equipment is maintained at the right time and application.

One way that biomedical engineers keep up with the intricacies of each unique piece of equipment is by using historical data for reference and through overseeing equipment audits.  This allows professionals to analyze their management programs to improve efficiency and compliance all while decreasing costs.

Health care professionals should establish baselines on their equipment.  Each facility is a different size and offers varied levels of technology.  This is why it is inaccurate to use dollars spent as a comparison.  Smaller, more budget conscience facilities may be required to purchase refurbished linear accelerators over brand new to stay within their facility’s financial requirements.

A better measurement to use is a program’s cost of service ratio.  This measurement accounts for technology and the expense of maintenance, the ratio helps determine the financial effectiveness of an equipment maintenance program.  This ratio is found through the division of total annual costs of operations by the initial cost of procuring equipment.  Establish a goal that provides your company direction on reducing costs while increasing overall efficiency.

Medical equipment maintenance programs of the past have been based on an as needed basis for repairs.   Equipment is not maintained and instead breakdowns are addressed as equipment breaks.  Newer methodology involving medical equipment maintenance is time, predictive, and conditioned based to a new risk-based process.    Prevention and corrective maintenance are now concerned with scheduled activities and repairs when equipment is out of service.  This maintenance method prevents the ability to set service intervals based on useful data.

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/.

Radiation Therapy: Everything There Is to Know About Radiation Therapy and More

There are several treatment options that are available to patients after a cancer diagnosis has been received.   Radiation therapy is an option for treating cancer, thyroid disease, non-cancerous growths, and blood disorders.  The benefit of radiation therapy is that it can be confined to specific areas where the tumor is.  It is targeted treatment that has a devastating effect on its target.

Whether your treatment is curative or palliative, radiation is an effective option.  It is important to understand that although radiation therapy is used in treating cancer it is also used for treatment to certain inflammatory conditions and benign tumors.  In this installment we will focus more on the application of radiation therapy as treatment for cancer.

Quick Facts on Radiation Therapy

  • In order to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing, radiation therapy delivers intense energy waves to the targeted area. Not only does radiation therapy stop cancerous cells from growing, it works to kill cancerous cells, slow cancerous cells growth, and shrink cancerous tumors in order to allow surgical oncologists to remove left over tumor.
  • There are side effects to any cancer treatment including radiation therapy. One of the biggest side effects of radiation is the effect it has to the healthy tissues surrounding the areas around the tumor.  Treatment to healthy tissues is minimized as much as possible however this does not mean that it will be left unaffected.  Most of the side effects to the healthy tissue or local to the area and are short term however other side effects like fatigue can occur throughout your body.
  • In order to make sure that radiation is placed in the correct location, radiation therapy goes through a simulation process before it is actually administered to an actual patient.

Radiation Therapy Is…

A linear accelerator is the most common piece of equipment used to administer external beam radiation therapy.  Linear accelerators deliver waves of energy in the treatment of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.  The form of radiation delivered using LINAC systems is known as ionizing radiation, a high-energy type of radiation.  The radiation breaks up the DNA of the cells in a manner that disturbs their ability to cultivate, even causing complete destruction, death.

Radiation therapy can be used on its own or in combination with other forms of treating cancer such as chemotherapy.  Only your cancer specialist can determine what option of treatment will be best for your specific type of cancer.  Radiation therapy is used as a form of treatment in over 60% of patients that are being treated for cancer within the United States.

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/.

Different Options in Treating Cancer

There are many methods used in the treatment of cancer.  Oncology physicians will work with one another to determine the best treatment combination to treat your unique cancer situation.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs are a type of poison that is given via injection directly into the blood stream.  Some chemotherapy treatments can be taken by mouth, all to treat and reduce the size of cancerous tumors.  Chemo is the treatment options that is most common when dealing with metastatic cancers such as, Carcinoma of Unknown Primary, C.U.P., that have spread throughout the body.  When your treatment includes surgery as well the term Adjuvant Chemotherapy will be commonly used.  This refers to medicine that is given after surgery to prevent reoccurrence.  Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy refers to medicine that is given prior to surgery to shrink tumors.

There are a number of chemotherapy options that can be used in treating cancer.  To be effective it must be tailored to the primary site of cancer.  Every patient and every cancer will require a different, specialized treatment plan.  Often times a combination of treatments needs to be used in order to fully treat cancer.  Chemotherapy is often used as one piece in combination to treat cancerous cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiotherapy uses beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells.  Beams of radiation are aimed at precise areas where cancerous cells are located in order to shrink or eliminate the tumor.  Radiation is delivered using linear accelerators.  Linear accelerators can deliver high powered radiation beams directly to the tumors while missing the surrounding healthy cells.

Radiation therapy is used as both a curative and palliative treatment.  Curative treatment seeks a long-lasting cure and reduction of cancer cells returning.  Palliative treatment seeks to reduce and slow down the symptoms being experienced with the cancer when there is no chance of curing the patient.  When determining your radiation treatment, doctors will look at the size, type, location, shape, and stage of the tumor, as well as the health of the patient and overall purpose of treatment.  A plan will be developed and executed according to a strict plan.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy uses sex hormones to treat hormone sensitive/dependent cancers like breast, prostate, and womb cancers where the cancerous tumors and cells grow because of estrogen and testosterone. Hormone therapy is often used in combination with other treatments.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy works in an effort to replicate the persons actual immune system to reject and destroy cancerous cells.  This can be done through “immunization” in which a patient own immune system is trained to see cancerous cells and destroy them.  It can also be administered in a way that recruits the patients own immune system to kill the cancerous cells.

Surgery

When it is possible, surgery is the best option at offering a cure for most cancers however is not appropriate for CUP patients.  Surgery is most often used in treatment when the primary site of cancer is identified.

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/.

Radiation Therapy: Goals and Understanding

High-energy x-rays or particles used to destroy cancerous tumors and cells is known as radiation therapy.  A number of doctors specialize in treating cancer.  A radiation oncologist is the specialist that is trained to deliver radiation therapy to treat cancer.  The team of cancer specialists treating you and your cancer will develop a radiation schedule that delivers radiation at consistent intervals over the course of a set time period.

Radiation Therapy Goals

The goals of treatment using radiation is to slow the growth of cancerous tumors and destroy cancer cells without causing permanent damage to the surrounding healthy tissues and cells.  Most often doctors will recommend radiation therapy as the first line of treating cancer.  It can also be given with great results after surgery or chemotherapy.  When this is done it is known as adjuvant therapy.  This targets the “leftovers”, the cells containing cancer after the initial treatment.

Sometimes it is not possible to destroy all of the cancer.  If this is the case with your cancer specialists will use radiation to shrink the tumor to relieve the symptoms.  This is known as palliative radiation therapy.  In palliative therapy treatment is done to reduce the pressure, pain, and symptoms of cancer.  It is done to create a better quality of life for the patient.  If palliative therapy is done it is not done necessarily to cure the cancer but instead to increase the quality of life after diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with cancer there is more than a fifty percent chance that you will receive a form of radiation therapy in treating your cancer.  Many forms of cancer react better with a combination of treatments such as radiation therapy with surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.

Using a Linear Accelerator

The most common delivery of radiation therapy is external-beam.  This consists of radiation being delivered to the patient using a machine known as a linear accelerator from the outside of the body. This machine creates a beam of radiation that is delivered through the skin directly to the cancerous tumor.   Specialized computer software is used in conjunction with LINAC to adjust the size and shape of the radiation beam specific to each patient’s tumor.  Targeting the exact shape and size of the tumor and cancer cells allows radiation oncologists to avoid healthy tissues that sit near the cancerous cells.

Treatment is normally given every day, Monday – Friday, for several weeks.  If treatment is to be given to the head, neck or brain, a form-fitting support or plastic mesh mask is used to prevent the patient from moving during radiation therapy.

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/.

 

Options in Radiation Therapy Delivery

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month?  Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that is treated in the United States with over 250,000 new cases being diagnosed each year.   It is estimated that this year, 2018 we will have approximately 1,735,350 cases of cancer diagnosed.  With this number expected to continue to grow, the techniques used in delivering radiation therapy, the most popular treatment option, are continuing to advance.

Radiation treatment for cancers of all types may be delivered externally or internally.  With external radiation a beam of high-energy rays is directed towards the tumor from outside of the body.  This delivery is most often done using a large piece of equipment known as a linear accelerator or LINACS for short.  Internal radiation, brachytherapy, requires the implantation of seeds containing radioactive material to be place in or near the cancer.  Another method of delivering radiation in cases of cancers like that found within the thyroid is sent directly into the vein.  Treatment options for cancer continue to advance as better methods are found to deliver radiation without causing harm to healthy cells surrounding the cancerous tissues.

EBRT – External Beam Radiation Therapy

Linear accelerators are used to deliver external beam radiation therapy.  Radiation is delivered from outside of the body by penetrating cancerous cells with high-energy external radiation beams.  This dense radiation beam is used to kill or shrink the cancerous tumor without harming healthy tissues.  Linear accelerators allow for a more precise treatment of radiation which leads to fewer side effects.  EBRT is most often prescribed on an outpatient basis for upwards of eight weeks.

3D-CRT – Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy

Another method of EBRT is done using a specialized computed tomography scan, CT scanner and targeting computer.  This radiation treatment gives oncologists the ability to perform three-dimensional conformal radiation.  This type of therapy reduces damage to healthy tissues while delivering a higher dose of radiation to the target area.

IMRT – Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

IMRT is another three-dimensional option in radiation therapy.  It gives the oncologist the ability to customize the doses given to each area of the tumor.  Using computer-controlled sections that are movable, radiation is delivered.  The sections are used to adjust the amount od radiation that is given at any one time.  They can block or allow radiation beams through to the treatment area.  The sections are adjusted to the size, shape, and location of the tumor.  It is similar to an adjustable showerhead where the streams of water can be adjusted, some areas offer thicker streams than others.

IGRT – Image-Guided Radiation Therapy

IGRT is a fairly new radiation treatment.  This type of therapy involves a number of images to be taking during the radiation treatment.  Computers compare the original images that were taken during the planning phase with the images that are coming through during treatment for comparison.  This allows the patient’s body position to be adjusted to shift treatment to the exact location of the tumor.  This treatment increases the accuracy of radiation while providing documentation within degrees of accuracy.  Image-guided radiation therapy can be used along with EBRT, 3D-CRT, and IMRT.

IORT – Intraoperative Therapy

Treatment using intraoperative therapy is delivered directly to the cancerous tumor during surgery.  This allows a higher dose of radiation to be delivered directly to the cancer while decreasing the exposure of radiation to healthy tissues.  These healthy tissues can be moved and shielded during surgery and exposure to radiation.  IORT is often used in cancers that are localized, difficult to remove, and have a high risk of reoccurring.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is also known as internal radiation.  Seeds of radioactive materials are implanted directly into or near the cancer.  This type of radiation therapy is often given when an additional dose of radiation is needed during EBRT but can also be used alone.  Overtime if the seeds are not removed the radioactive material will diminish, it can also be removed after a specific period of time.  This is dependent on the treatment plan for each unique patient and cancer.  Often Brachytherapy is used in treating prostate, cervix, uterine, vaginal, head, neck, and breast cancer.

SRS – Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Most widely used in treating brain tumors, arteriovenous malformation, and other selected conditions, SRS is a non-invasive option.  It delivers a high dose of radiation to a super defined area.  This type of radiation treatment delivers what is normally spread out amongst weeks of treatment in just one single treatment.  It can also be in a fractional manner over just a few weeks.

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/.

Treatment with Radiation Therapy

What is radiation therapy?

There are a number of options to treat cancer, radiation therapy is just one of them.  There are a number of ways in which radiation can be delivered.  The method that is used to treat your individual type of cancer is dependent solely on the nature of your cancer.  External beam therapy delivers radiation directly to the tumor through a machine known as a linear accelerator, from outside your body.

How does it work?

Radiation treatment targets cancer cells during treatment however this does not mean that the healthy cells around the area won’t be affected by treatment.  Thankfully, radiation treatment has the greatest affect on the cancerous cells.  Treatment using a LINAC system delivers the highest amount of radiation treatment that can be safely given, to the cancerous area.  This treatment is aimed at killing cancer cells.  Sometimes smaller doses of radiation are given.  This is usually the case where doctors are hoping to shrink the tumor and offer relief to the patient vs attempting to “cure” the patient.

Who takes care of the patient?

A doctor that specializes in cancer is referred to as a radiotherapist or radiation oncologist.  They are in charge of planning and overseeing treatment that will be administer by a radiation therapist.  A number of specialists will be involved in treating your cancer including: nurses, specialists, counselors, health care aids, and dietitians, depending on your unique needs.

Where is the treatment received?

Treatment and delivery are designed with each unique patient in mind.  Treatment is performed in a hospital or clinic and is done in a manner that is suited to the persons receiving its particular needs.  A preliminary visit is scheduled in order to plan out your treatment plan.  The radiation oncologist and therapists will do this.  Using a simulator, x-rays, and scans skin is marked using different colored pens that help define the placement of treatment.  Permanent marks can be made using a special dye or tiny pin prick if needed.

Each of these marks allows the therapists administering radiation to ascertain the exact area that needs to be treated during each and every treatment session.  If you are using a head shell, the guidance marks will be added to the shell rather than to your skin.  Radiation treatment can also be delivered to the mouth and throat area.  If this is the case a dental assessment will be done, along with necessary dental treatments and then radiation therapy can begin.

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/.

External Radiotherapy: Beating Cancer with Radiation

One of the most popular options in treating cancerous tumors is with the use of external radiotherapy.  There are several types of external radiotherapy options for doctors to choose from when treating each unique patient needs with the overall principal of the therapy being the same.  Radiation is delivered to the source of the cancer using a high-powered beam.

Linear accelerators are one type of machine that can deliver radiation to the source without causing severe damage to the healthy tissues surrounding the area. External radiotherapy is used to destroy cancerous cells and is administer by LINAC systems that deliver high energy x-ray beams known as photon beams.  Other systems deliver radiotherapy through particle beams, such as protons and electrons.  The principle is similar in both as the beam of radiation is aimed at an internal cancer source as treatment.

The DNA in cancerous cells is damaged through external radiotherapy.  DNA is either damaged directly or through particles called free radicals that damage them. This keeps the cancerous cells from growing or kills.  When the cells die they are broken down by the body and removed as waste.  Normal healthy cells surrounding the cancerous tumor are damaged slightly however they can usually repair themselves over time.

Treatment is not started until you have spoken to your doctor about possible short- and long-term side effects.  Most often side effects can be controlled with medication and are temporary.  The treatment is planned based off of the images that have been taken of the cancer via x-ray, CT scans, MRI’s, and/or PET scans.  The plan will ensure a higher dose of treatment to the cancerous tumor.  Treatment is given in the radiotherapy department of the hospital.  Machines in the radiotherapy department such as linear accelerators, are very big and can be a bit scary.

LINAC machines use electricity to create the beams of radiation that are delivered to the cancer.  During treatment the machine never actually touches you and nothing is felt during treatment.  There may be some side effects of discomfort and pain that can be managed with medication.  For the treatment to work well, the radiotherapy needs to cover all of the cancer and the border around it using the lowest dose possible to reduce any side effects.

When choosing the treatment that you will need your radiotherapy doctor will consider the following:

  • The type of cancer you have
  • The position of the cancer within your body
  • Treatments that you have had in the past, are currently having, and that are planned
  • Your general wellness, health, and fitness levels

Your external radiotherapy treatment is individualized to each and every patient.

The entire course of treatment can last anywhere between one to six weeks but can be longer.  This is determined by your doctor and how well you are responding to treatment.  The treatment that is put in place will be based on a personal routine that you can easily follow.

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/.

 

Patient Safety Is Affected by The Design of Your Facility

When it comes to receiving treatment, both in patient and out-patient, our safety is always a concern.  Whether a family member, friend, or even oneself is receiving care it is crucial that safety as a patient is of utmost concern for the facility where we are seeking treatment.  Accidents that occur within a facility whether they are minor, like slipping in the bathroom or major an error in medication received, cost billions of dollars per year.  The harm that is caused by ineffective patient safety measures don’t just affect the facility and patient, caregivers can also be scarred emotionally.

 

Patient care and safety is just one of the many reasons it is important to design your medical facility in such a manner that is basically fool proof.  You will see this demonstrated in a million different ways throughout the facility including:

Standardized patient and treatment rooms:

When rooms throughout the facility are designed in the same manner throughout it helps to prevent errors from occurring.  Rooms are set up in a manner that considers the predominance of right-handed professionals and patients.  This helps to ensure that the room is set up in the most efficient manner possible for the greatest good.

 

Standardized facilities take the guess work out of patient treatment and therefore help to ensure the best possible outcome in patient care.   Efficiency within the medical facility allows for a precise, standardized approach that allows treatment to be done quickly and safely.  Familiarity within the space, knowing where you can find what you need when you need it within a familiar environment that keeps patients safe and the work flow moving along competently.  When variation is removed all the guess work is taken out of the equation and thus error in treatment.

 

This is especially necessary when specialized treatment is sought.  Radiation oncology departments are just one of the many departments within a hospital that use a standardized approach in treatment room layout.  Radiation is an intense option in treating cancer using several large scaled devices like linear accelerators and CT scanners to find and treat cancerous tumors.

 

Although each patient’s treatment is unique the way it is received is not.  Simplifying the routine elements allows doctors and nurses to focus on the specific requirements of each patient.  Physicians can concentrate on patient information, dosing information, and the physical care of the patient over being concerned on where to find basic supplies.

Basic Principles To Promote Patient Safety:

As stated by author, John Reiling in Safe by Design: Designing Safety in Health Care Facilities, Process, and Culture, facilities must follow basic principles to promote patient safety.  This includes:

  • Being Patient Centered
  • Environmentally Conducive
  • Resourceful/Efficient
  • Safe
  • Superior Care
  • Advanced Technology
  • Knowledgeable and Approachable Staff

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/.