Image-Guided Radiation Therapy

Doctors examine results of image-guided radiation therapy at Baptist Cancer Center

What is IGRT?

Image-guided radiation therapy uses repeated imaging scans, including CT, MRI and PET scans, during treatment to identify changes in a tumor's size and location. This type of radiation therapy allows health care teams to adjust the patient's position and radiation dosage during treatment, if necessary.

How does IGRT work?

The machines used to deliver the radiation are called linear accelerators. A linear accelerator has imaging equipment that doctors use to confirm a tumor’s location in the body before and during treatment.

Differences between IGRT vs. IMRT

With IGRT treatment, the patient’s precise positioning on the treatment table is very important to ensure radiation beam accuracy.

With IMRT, or intensity-modulated radiation therapy, the oncologist determines the radiation dosage, and a computer determines the number and angle of radiation beams.

How do patients receive IGRT treatment?

A radiation therapist carefully positions the patient on the treatment table and uses image-guided radiation technology to scan the body and map the tumor. The images help guide the radiation beams to closely and accurately target the tumor.

Treatment typically requires multiple sessions—approximately five days a week for several weeks. Your doctor will determine the length and frequency of your treatment depending on the location and type of cancer.

What are the benefits of image-guided radiation therapy?

IGRT increases accuracy and effectiveness of radiation treatment and may minimize side effects by reducing the amount of healthy tissue exposed to high dosages of radiation. Image-guided radiation therapy is an ideal treatment option for tumors in sensitive locations or tumors that are prone to movement.

What are image-guided radiation therapy side effects?

Radiation therapy can cause side effects during or immediately after treatment, but these typically resolve within a few weeks. Common side effects may include:

  • Hair loss, soreness or swelling in the treatment area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Digestion problems
  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Bladder changes

Varian M edical System’s Trilogy

In 2007, Baptist Cancer Center - Memphis became the first in the Mid-South to offer treatment using Varian Medical System's Trilogy linear accelerator and IGRT technology. Trilogy makes it possible to deliver a wide range of ultra-precise treatments for all cancers with great speed.

Learn More About Our Cancer Services

In addition to being a leading-edge cancer center in the use of IGRT radiation, Baptist Cancer Center also provides a wide range of cancer care services. Whether you or a loved one needs chemotherapy, genetic counseling, reconstructive surgery or another form of cancer support, we serve the Mid-South with close-to-home care. Learn more about our cancer services now.

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