Machines and Equipment Used in Radiation Therapy

The linear accelerator (LINAC) is the most common tool of radiation therapy equipment. Linear accelerators are used to transfer high-energy x-rays in the direction of the cancerous tumor, without causing much damage to the normal body tissue that surrounds the cancerous region. To accomplish this, the linear accelerator accelerates electrons and has them collide into a metal target, which creates high-energy light rays. These high-energy light rays are then molded into the shape of the tumor and beamed towards the patient's body in the direction of the tumor. Sometimes the beam is shaped by blocks and sometimes it is shaped by a multileaf collimator. A multileaf collimator (MLC) is a devise that helps mold the x-rays to the proper shape by the use of leaves of high atomic numbered material.

Tomotherapy Machine

Sometimes technologies are mixed to create a kind of "super radiation therapy machine." A tomotherapy machine is a marriage between a linear accelerator and a CT scanner. This allows the high-energy beams from the linear accelerator to reach the patient's affected area continuously from all 360 degrees. This type of linear accelerator uses multileaf collimators to shape the beam. One of the most important aspects of this machine is that it allows the doctor to use CT imaging attached to the machine to guide the beam into its proper place.

Specialized Radiation Therapy Equipment

Some radiation equipment is specialized for specific kinds of cancer. The SAVI device is used specifically for breast cancer. It is a brachytherapy tool that consists of multiple catheters, where the level of radiation can be controlled in each individual catheter.