Tag: Servicing Elekta Linear Accelerators

Key Points to Consider for Linac Removal

Removing a 25,000 lb piece of machinery from a medical clinic or hospital, what could go wrong? It can be crucial to other surrounding equipment and to your facility to have safe and efficient removal services performed so that your facility will have peace of mind knowing that this process will be handled correctly. A few tips below will help this removal process go more smoothly and will get you to the goal of out with the out and in with the new more quickly.

Removal Path

To start, cleaning of any removable clutter is always overlooked and can become an obstacle that can be avoided. Measuring will be the next step to take when its time to start moving any type of equipment. A tape measurer will be your best friend since when it comes to moving high or low energy linacs, each have a minimum requirement for the number of inches required for room clearance.  Accurately measuring all building doors including the vault and outside door along the removal path is very important. Prior to the arrival or replacement equipment, a professional vendor will request a rig info sheet to be submitted to guarantee that there is no door frames or walls that will need to be removed. If the vendor does not ask about the measurements beforehand, this is a red flag that you should be looking for equipment elsewhere.

Safety Concerns

When transporting heavy equipment at any times, the safety of the removal team is of utmost importance. If the above-mentioned measurements are done inaccurately and realize that a vault door must be removed with late notice, this will pose a very big safety hazard. Depending on size, vault doors can easily weigh a few thousand pounds and unfortunate deaths have resulted when removal of these doors have been done incorrectly. When they doors need to be removed, it is critical that they are removed by professionals that have experience in the field.  Last minute decisions for vault door removal will also cut into extra expenses that was not part of the company budget so it again if very important for the measurements to be calculated right the first time. Proper liability insurance should be provided by your vendor when on site during the removal process as well.

Loading Space

Once you have the old equipment outside the next step is often overlooked as well. The loading area needs to have enough space in order to load the linear accelerator into trailer for transportation. Facilities will typically need to block off any side streets or parking spots to allow a safe loading area. If loading space is unavailable, the removal team will need to utilize a forklift of suitable size to lift and move machinery to the trailer manually.

Facility Jobs

No matter the size or details of removal that is performed, there will be responsibilities of the facility that will be requested. Generally, the removal team will ask local facility engineers, electricians, or plumbers to turn off the water or other power sources that are attached to the specific equipment that is being removed. This will protect the office building from having potentially dangerous live power to the area and helps to not disrupt any of the surrounding rooms that lighting and power may be connected to as well. Many times, the facility will manage and schedule the removal times so that it is occurring after hours or assist in security throughout the building.

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/.

Improving LINAC Service Response Time


Linear accelerators and complex support devices are at the heart of today’s radiation oncology.  As technology continues to advance and change the way in which LINAC systems treat cancerous tumors, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the way in which equipment maintenance, malfunction, and breakdowns are managed.  The strategies to manage quality, mitigate risk and analyze failures have improved to adjust to the changing needs of radiation oncology equipment. 

Manufacturers of oncology equipment add guidelines to ensure successful management of equipment maintenance including system monitoring and cyclical measurements of key functions verse pre-specified tolerances.  This information was previously documented by hand whereas in today’s environment data can be recorded, distributed company-wide, and stored electronically. IT plays an integral role in storing and managing the data which can then be integrated into the everyday workflow in the radiation oncology department.    

Work to cultivate IT clinical management solutions in the radiation department is often done in house working in collaboration with equipment vendors.  This process is an essential component in quality management of radiation oncology equipment services

Service and support of linear accelerators are a key element in quality management in the radiation oncology department.  In most facilities, radiation therapists will report all technical problems with the LINAC to a clinical medical physicist who then reports the events of the machine’s failure to the vendor’s dispatch center to schedule support.  When this call is made the therapist or physicist reporting the LINAC failure will provide the identification of the linear accelerator, the location of the machine, and a detailed report of the problem including what issues led up to the failure..

Depending on where the machine is located, the vendors dispatch center will provide information to equipment engineers at their technical support help desk.  Together the user and engineers will attempt to diagnosis the issue at hand and coordinate actions for repair. 

Facilities looking to improve the efficiency of support and service to linear accelerators when failure occurs can implement key changes in the overall process.  These procedure modifications include:

  • Lessen the number of steps involved in reporting the LINAC failure to the vendor’s support team.
  • Reduce duplication and surplus in the diffusion of information related to the linear accelerators’ failure.
  • Record events electronically for improvement and evaluation of delivering services related to LINAC maintenance and repairs.
  • Utilize remote support from vendor approved engineers that are familiar with the installed system and its maintenance and service history.

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/.



3 Tips For Installing or Replacing a Linear Accelerator

New linear accelerators can cost a medical facility between 1 and 5 million dollars.  The expense of owning a LINAC does not stop once it has ben purchased.  There are items outside of the actual equipment purchase such as a simulator, training computers, treatment rooms, salaries, ongoing training, operation expenses, maintenance, repairs, and more.  The total cost of large scaled medical equipment is never one that should be underestimated.  Whether you are installing a brand new or refurbished linear accelerator, installing a LINAC for the first time, or replacing an existing one there are three tips the professionals at Acceletronics want to give you.

Step One – Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

The installation planning process for a linear accelerator takes between six months to eight years.  The length of time for planning your project can span almost any length of time.

  • When planning new technology, you will first want to establish the technology that you need in order to treat patients.  What types of cases will you be treating?  Consider the options IMRT, IGRT, and so on.
  • If you are installing a linear accelerator in new construction, you will want to consider the constraints that come along with that.  What local permits do you need, do you have the proper power supply needed for this large scaled equipment, are there constraints that will limit your installation?  If you are renovating a space consider the rooms constraints, size, location of isocenter and so forth.
  • Create a timeline for major milestones.  When will the vault be completed, when are vendors scheduled to install computers?  When planning these things consider potential areas where conflict can occur and come up with a backup plan.
  • Once the goals are established, a budget is needed to acquire the new equipment.  Consider other aspects as well such as training, equipment needed to run the LINAC and treat patients, and the extra items that can be forgotten about when focusing on the large scaled purchase.

Step Two – Hire Based on Experience

When hiring a team of professionals, it is crucial that you hire experts.  Experts are needed for designing the vault, construction, providers of equipment and supplies, IT support, clinical implementation teams, and such.  Don’t trade cost for quality.  Sometimes a little bit more money now can save you a great deal of money later on down the road.  Ask for references when working with different vendors.  Hire only those vendors that understand the collaboration effort needed to install medical equipment such as CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators. 

Step Three – Commit to Quality

When buying a used or refurbished linear accelerator there is a three-step process that you should follow to ensure you get a machine that meets your needs and beyond.  These steps include: a review of the LINAC’s service history (look at major service events such as waveguide replacement), review the machine’s utilization and beam hours, and perform a physical inspection of the machine. 

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/.

Removing a Linear Accelerator

Many times, when a facility gets a new or refurbished linear accelerator, they are replacing an older piece of equipment that needs to be removed.  If you have ever worked with a LINAC you can only imagine how difficult the removal process can be.  Not only is it a large piece of machinery you are dealing with the removal of a highly sophisticated machine that is quite expensive.  On top of all of that it is important to remember you are working with in a medical facility that is busy treating patients. Removing a linear accelerator, CT scanner, or any other large scaled machinery is not a simple task by any means. 

Through careful planning, companies like Acceletronics can minimize the hassle when removing and installing linear accelerators.  Our team of experts specialize in the removal of linear accelerators.   Our staff with guide you throughout the process to ensure your facility continues to run as expected and that the disruption to patient care is minimal.  

First things first, safety is the top priority!  Not only do we want to keep our employees safe, we are continually improving safety techniques to ensure safety for all.  Here are some of the ways that we work to establish a safe environment when removing large scaled medical equipment like linear accelerators.

  • Areas that will be accessed in removal of the linear accelerator are all blocked off.  This includes areas of the medical facility, parking areas, and side streets when necessary. 
  • Accurate measurements are taken to prevent any emergency vault door removal.  Removing the vault doors poses a risk to personnel and patients within the facility.  Measuring, planning, and careful execution prevents this risk.
  • Water, lock and tag power is all shut off to the treatment room where your linear accelerator is location.  This prevents injury to the rigging team.  These tasks are completed by facility personnel who are familiar with the utility systems and helps to prevent dangerous mistakes that can happen when individuals unfamiliar to the location are tasked to complete utility shut down.
  • A plan is always in place for the handling of any materials deemed hazardous. 

Many times, relocation of linear accelerators can occur on weekends or after hours which will help to eliminate any disruptions that may occur.  It is important to work with companies that adhere to health protocols of your facility when working with you.  The goal is to minimize risk to patients while ensuring quality patient care. 

Budgeting is another area that the professionals at Acceletronics work with clients. Purchase and removal of LINAC systems is not inexpensive by any means.  In order to help mitigate the costs and ensure you are not spending more than you need to when removing a linear accelerator, we offer you tips.

  • Planning and transparency is needed from the beginning to the end of the equipment removal process.  In order to prevent confusion, errors in communication, or logistic issues that can increase costs it is crucial to have everyone working on the project in the know.  Every detail, every change, and every hurdle needs to be thoroughly addressed with each and every person involved in the process.  This will save you money.  Preventing errors with detailed planning and complete transparency will keep expenditures within the quoted allotment. 
  • When planning the time when the equipment will be removed choose a period that will cause the least amount of disruption to the operations of your facility.  Although it may cost a bit more to have the removal take place on the weekends or a holiday it is less costly then a disruption to patient care.
  • Often companies can get credit for machines that are still in operational condition.  Credit for working parts can decrease the cost of removal.  The savings that is passed on to you will be determined by the year of the LINAC, the make, model, and condition. 

Finally, the execution of removing the systems comes into play.  After some major pre-planning and all of the pieces of the puzzle working to complete a whole picture the removal process can occur.

As previously mentioned, accurate measurements are a key element is removal.  Costly errors occur when measuring is not precise. Before we arrive on site, facilities will give us a complete rig info sheet.  This will ensure that there are zero surprises when moving the LINAC through doorways.

It is also important that a pathway clear of obstruction is obtained when removing a linear accelerator.  Facilities should plan for the removal of furniture and unnecessary items in order to create a barrier free exit. 

After the machine is removed it needs to be transported.  It is important that a loading area is prepared to allow for this to easily occur.  Most often a semi is needed.  To ensure the semi has access to the loading area it is crucial that the area is sectioned off and that the exit is kept clear.  The smoother this process goes the less it will cost your facility. 

If you have any accessories or additional equipment that needs to be removed it is important to plan ahead.  It is less expensive to remove the main piece of equipment and accessories all at one time instead of completing the removal in multiple steps.  The more steps involved in the process the more costly it tends to be.  Accommodating removal of everything in one day is the least expensive way in which to execute medical equipment removal.

Once the room is clear of the LINAC and depending on your plan, the next steps can start to unfold.  There are many factors involved in coordinating the removal of a linear accelerator.  It is important to hire the right team to achieve your vision, and we think the professionals at Acceletronics can help! We have years of experience in the removal and installation of new and refurbished linear accelerators.  Our team specializes in CT scanners and linear accelerators and would be delighted to partner with you in purchasing, removal, installation, servicing, and more. 

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/.



Maintaining Large Scaled Medical Equipment While Cutting Costs


The pressure is high for the leaders of medical facilities to keep up on the changing technology of medical equipment, improve the quality of patient care, and reduce costs of medical equipment maintenance and care. Creating a cost saving strategy in medical equipment maintenance allows facility leaders to stay ahead of their competition without budget concerns.  One way many healthcare facilities have chosen to do this is through outsourcing.  This allows medical facilities to purchase service and repair contracts from companies that specialize in the service and repair of large scaled medical equipment such as linear accelerators and CT scanners. 

Healthcare centers rely on medical equipment to provide the highest quality of care to patients at all times.  It is crucial that your facility have a system in place to manage, maintain, and repair high end, technologically advanced medical equipment like LINAC.  This can be done simply by contracting services through an OEM or third-party service provider.  Facilities must have a strategy in place that fits their exact needs including both maintenance and repair.

Considerations in Medical Equipment Service Contracts

When you are purchasing a contract, it is important to make sure you know exactly what is and what is not covered.  Full-service contracts, through an OEM or third-party provider should normally provide parts, labor, and preventative maintenance.  Analyze your facility’s medical equipment needs.  Ask yourself the following:

  • What times of the day is equipment used for patient care?
  • Are back-up systems available if the main piece of equipment is down?
  • How old is the current equipment? What is the service history of the equipment?

Ways Facilities Can Save When Contracting an OEM or Third-Party Provider

  • Choose an 8 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday option for service and maintenance.
  • Combine equipment and facilities into a single contract.

In-House Strategies to Support Contracted Services

Even with contracted services there should be an in-house program to support it.  There are quite a few cost saving strategies including the assessment of available staff, the competency of your staff, the history of equipment, and the level of risk the hospital wants to assume.

  • Determine your staff’s availability and capability.  The staff should attend training and expectations of the level of support to be given for each piece of equipment should be determined.
  • Do a complete cost/benefit analysis between a full-service contract vs a combination of contracted services and staff maintenance.  Remember to consider the costs associated with training, parts, and additional tools/equipment that would be needed.
  • Review the historical data on the expense of labor and parts for each piece of equipment.  This will help you determine the cost of parts and labor under contract if you wouldn’t have had a contract in place vs having the contract in place.

As mentioned earlier there are a number of different medical equipment service, maintenance, and repair plans beyond full-service contracts. These include:

  • Preventive Maintenance Contract
  • Parts Only Contract
  • Biomed Support Contract

After doing research and analysis on your existing equipment you should have a good idea on which type of service contract best suits your company.  Linear accelerator maintenance, repair, service, and parts will obviously cost more than then the same services on a hospital bed.  These are the things that facility leaders need to account for when contracting with an OEM or third-party service company.

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/.



Exploring Radiation Therapy Treatments Part 2

As promised in our last blog post today we will dive into the concept of radiation therapy.  In our last installment we discussed linear accelerators and how the radiation beam is produced and delivered.  If you are unfamiliar with LINAC and how radiation is created and delivered look back at our previous blog post before continuing. 

Radiation Therapy

The treatment of cancer with radiation is known as radiation therapy. Depending on the type of cancer you have been diagnosed with will depend on the way radiation therapy is delivered to your tumor(s).  The most common method of radiation therapy is external beam therapy.  This involves delivery of radiation to the cancerous tumors from outside of the body.  The radiation is delivered directly to the tumor.  A LINAC allows the radiation beam to be shaped in the same shape as the cancerous tumor.  Another option of radiation therapy is internal radiation therapy.  This treatment involves implanting radiation directly onto the cancerous tumor. The nature of the cancer being treated will determine the type of radiation therapy delivered.

How It Works

Radiation therapy does not distinguish between healthy and cancerous cells although the effect is greater on cancerous cells. The highest dose of radiation possible is delivered to the cancerous tumor in the attempt to kill, break down, and shrink tumor. Smaller doses of radiation can be delivered when palliative care is the goal.  The goal of palliative care is to relive symptoms of cancer by shrinking the size of the tumor.  Palliative care is focused on increasing the quality of life left for a patient and their family. 

Who Performs Radiation Therapy

A radiotherapist/radiation oncologist is what we refer to as a physician specializing in the treatment of cancer. This individual is the person that will plan and oversee your treatment from beginning until the end of treatment.  Radiation is delivered by a professional known as a radiation specialist.  A team of professionals will work with your specialists to ensure you are receiving the best care possible.  Some of the members of this team include: nurses, health care assistants, counselors, and dietitians. 

Treatment Plan

Each course of radiation therapy is uniquely designed for the patient that is being treated.  A preliminary appointment will be scheduled in which you will discuss your course of treatment.  This plan is created by your radiation oncologist and radiation therapist using all the scans and x-rays that have been taken of your cancerous tumor.  The skin is colored in to define the location of the tumor and where the treatment will be delivered.  If radiation is being delivered to your head a head shell will be created for you that allows for the exact placement of treatment to be marked on the shell vs on your skin.  Treating cancer in the mouth or throat will require a dental assessment to determine if dental treatment is needed before radiation can be delivered.

Inpatient vs Outpatient

Patients that can go to and from the hospital easily will most likely be allowed to have outpatient radiation therapy.  Your radiation oncologist will tell you if they would prefer your treatment to be inpatient but overall most treatment is done on an outpatient basis. 

Additional Tests/Scans During Treatment

Over the course of radiation therapy, patients will be asked to have an occasional blood draw or urinalysis completed.  X-rays and other scans can also be required to determine if the radiation is working and if the placement of the treatment is correct based on the shrinking or break down of the tumor. 

During Treatment What Should I Avoid

Radiation therapy should be considered an interruption to normal life.  Your daily life can be continued as normal if you are feeling emotionally and physically able. 

Things to Keep in Mind During Radiation Therapy

Delivery – External radiation therapy is delivered using a machine known as a linear accelerator which was described in detail in our last installment.  For radiation to be delivered, you as the patient will be asked to lie on a couch under the LINAC and will need to remain still until the treatment is over.

Pain – Radiation therapy is painless.  The radiation can not be felt or seen during delivery.

Radioactivity – Patients always wonder if they will be radioactive after receiving radiation therapy.  You can rest assured that you will not be radioactive, there is no possible way for this to occur.

Duration – The duration of treatment will be decided by your radiation oncologist.  A course of radiation can be between one treatment to one every day, for one week to six weeks.  This will all depend on the type of cancer being treated, the dose of radiation needed, the part of the body being treated, and the aim at therapy whether it is therapeutic or palliative.

Length of Sessions – The length of each radiation session varies between machines and what is planned in your specific treatment plan.  Some LINAC operate at a faster rate than others.  Some cancerous tumors respond better to longer treatment sessions with smaller doses of radiation.  On average patients can expect that their sessions will last between five and fifteen minutes. 

Do’s and Don’ts During Treatment

Do’s

  • Make sure to drink plenty of fluids
  • Eat a regular, balanced diet
  • Shower regularly

Don’ts

  • Avoid alcohol, spicy food, or extreme hot and cold food
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight on the treated area
  • Avoid applying creams and deodorant to the treated area

Side Effects

Radiation treatment is localized.  Side effects depend on the location of treatment on the body.  We should note that side effects are rare however the following can occur:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent Urination
  • Sore Throat
  • Localized Hair Loss

Work

Patients can keep on working as usual as long as they are feeling able and their radiation oncologists agree.  If your oncologist suggests time off for rest, it is best to listen to them and avoid work.

Once Treatment Is Finished

If you do have any of the above side effects, it can be assumed that they will end after a week or two.  The full benefits of radiation can usually be reached after a few weeks.  You will follow up with your specialists after four to six weeks of your final radiation treatment.  This will all be determined by your radiation therapist. 

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/.

Exploring Radiation Therapy Treatments Part 1

Medical facilities have a lot to consider when purchasing new or refurbished medical equipment.  It is imperative to offer clients the highest patient care possible while also meeting the goals of the facility.  As patients we often don’t consider the rigorous behind the scenes work it takes to bring us the latest and greatest treatments.  We just want to know that we are getting the best possible treatment for our unique situation.  This is especially true in the treatment of cancer.

Being told you need radiation is perhaps one of the scariest things you will hear.  Everyone has their own experience while going through the process to eliminate their cancer however, it seems the “negative” always outshines the positive as we are seeking answers to questions before our own treatment begins.  We are here to help.  The following installments will give you a solid understanding on the ins and outs of treatment.  Information reduces anxiety and at a time when anxiety is at all time high the last thing you want is to have unanswered question in connection with your treatment.

First and foremost, lets talk about the medical equipment that will be used in treating your cancer with radiation therapy.  Linear accelerators are large machines that can be quite intimidating.  In all honesty, the size of the machine and the impact of the treatment are both extreme and just their sight can create anxiousness. The truth is there is no reason at all to be intimidated by the size or treatment that is provided by linear accelerators, LINAC.

A LINAC is a large piece of medical equipment that uses elevated electromagnetic waves to accelerate electrons into extreme energy in a linear path that travels through an accelerator waveguide.  These electrons collide with a heavy metal target and the result of the collision is the production of high energy x-rays (photons) that are delivered to the patient.  Linear accelerators have special features that allow these beams to be shaped to conform to the tumors shape.  The LINAC treatment angles can be manipulated receiving a variety of angles through the rotating gantry and movable treatment couch.

Linear accelerators, LINAC, continue to evolve.  Radiation therapy continues to advance as well.  What does this mean for patients? 

Increased survival rates, more efficient treatment, fewer side effects, faster results, and more await patients with the advancements of LINAC systems.  The radiation therapy process doesn’t have nerve wracking to patients.  In our next installment we will dive further into the treatment, side effects, and questions patients often ask when discussing treatment with 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/.

The People Behind the Installation of a Linear Accelerators


Purchasing a linear accelerator takes a great deal of planning, an experienced team to pull it all together, and a commitment to purchasing a quality piece of equipment.  The planning process, as previously stated includes:

  • Understanding the goals of your clinic
  • Facility Planning
  • Schedule
  • Budget

In this installment we will look at the team of experts that you will need as you go about purchasing and implementing treatment using a large scaled piece of radiation therapy equipment such as a LINAC.  Putting an experienced team of experts in place starts by involving individuals who share a similar vision for the facilities project.  A unified group of professionals who will communicate with one another throughout the project.  This team should include: vault designer/construction, provider of the LINAC, physics support, IT team, and the facilities clinical team for implementation.  Choosing the best players for your team ensures success.  It is your responsibility when making a purchase of this magnitude to perform due diligence every step of the way.

Vault Designer/Construction

Only a specialist can design and construct a vault that is capable of safely accommodating a linear accelerator.  Not every construction company can create this safe space, it requires experience.  Having a reliable company, with proven results in your corner will not only save you money but also critical time as you begin planning the installation of your linear accelerator.

Linear Accelerator Provider

Not all LINAC and radiation therapy equipment providers are the same.  Don’t purchase equipment based solely on the basis of price as this is not the true cost of owning a linear accelerator.  It is crucial, whether you are purchasing a new, refurbished, or used linear accelerator that you work with a company that provides the necessary specialized installation and support needed throughout the ownership of the equipment.  Vendors such as Accelectronics, that can complete sales, delivery, installation, servicing, replacement parts, and removal provide reliability and accountability that many companies cannot compete with. 

Physics Support

Successful treatment and patient outcomes only can occur when a continuous quality assurance program is in place.  This group must have the tools and knowledge needed to make sure the installation and implementation of said equipment in your facility will be successful.  This can include but is not limited to the assurance that you are offering the best possible treatment, to ongoing FAQ support.

IT Team

The hardware and software of all types of medical equipment is ever changing, the same is true of radiation therapy equipment such as linear accelerators and CT scanners.  An IT team must be in place to ensure that equipment is kept up to date with the latest upgrades.  They also must understand the overall impact to the facility a new piece of equipment such as a LINAC will have.  Different systems must work together.  It is up to your IT team to implement this network in order to have successful patient outcomes.

Implementation

Once the other pieces of the puzzle are in place including technology, the clinical implementation team will work together to ensure the best treatment plans are delivered to patients. This team includes: in-house therapists, physicists, and dosimetrists.  This team is in place to guarantee an optimization treatment from beginning to end.

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/.



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/.