What is RapidArc?
RapidArc is an advanced technology we use in our system to deliver intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with speed and precision. RapidArc shortens treatment times to one-half to one-eighth that of conventional radiation therapy.
RapidArc represents a major medical advance and is more comfortable for patients because they spend less time in their daily treatments. A fast, precise RapidArc Therapy takes less than two minutes. Patients can be in and out of treatment quickly and return to their daily routine. RapidArc rotates 360 degrees around the patient, enabling the very small beams with varying intensity to be aimed at the tumour from multiple angles. Unlike helical IMRT treatments or other forms of radiation therapy, with RapidArc the radiation treatment being delivered to the patient can be modulated continuously throughout treatment. This means that higher doses of radiation are delivered to hit the tumour harder, and less radiation is delivered to surrounding healthy tissue.
RapidArc treatments are delivered using either a Clinac or a Truebeam linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems outfitted with imaging capabilities. The RapidArc imaging capabilities let the clinician see the location of the tumor in three dimensions before treatment. If the cancer has moved due to physical changes, treatment can be adjusted so the patient receives a precise treatment. This treatment platform is the most widely used and reliable platform available. Over 75 percent of the leading U.S. hospitals and clinics use Varian technology.
How it Works
RapidArc Radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems delivers treatments using a Clinac. The linear accelerator rotates around the patient to deliver radiation treatments from nearly any angle. During a RapidArc treatment, radiation is shaped and reshaped as it is delivered continuously from virtually every angle in a 360-degree revolution around the patient.
Like other forms of radiation therapy, RapidArc treatments are planned using sophisticated computer programs that analyse diagnostic image data and calculate the best way of delivering the radiation dose to minimise impact on healthy tissues for each patient.
Immediately prior to treatment, the exact location, size, and shape of the patient’s tumour is visually observed through a simple two-minute imaging procedure using the machine’s On-Board Imager.
After imaging is completed, the images are reviewed by the therapist and the patient’s position can be adjusted so that an accurate treatment can be delivered. The patient does not need to move off the treatment couch for this process—all adjustments are made automatically by the treatment couch.
A RapidArc radiotherapy treatment is delivered quickly—in less than two minutes and with just one turn of the machine around the patient. RapidArc shapes and modulates a highly focused treatment beam so that it targets the tumour precisely, sparing surrounding healthy tissues. It treats the entire tumour with pinpoint accuracy and is easier on the patient, who does not have to hold still for long periods of time.
During a RapidArc treatment, the treatment beam is continually shaped by a multileaf collimator (MLC), a device with 120 computer-controlled mechanical “leaves” or “fingers” that move to create apertures of different shapes and sizes.