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Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is a radically new method of x-ray therapy and is considered one of the most significant advances in radiation oncology in 30 years. The C.R. Wood Cancer Center has been providing IMRT for our patients since 2004.
Successful radiotherapy is dependent on the ability to deliver as much dose as possible to a tumor while sparing normal tissues. To that end IMRT is exceptionally successful. With IMRT the radiation dose can be tailored to the shape of the tumor to a degree that is not possible with traditional x-ray therapy. This allows for an increase in the tumor dose while reducing side effects.
The development of IMRT would not have been possible without the dramatic increase in computer power that has occurred over the past ten years and the invention of the multi-leaf collimator (MLC). IMRT is extremely complex and would not be possible without computer control. Computers are needed to constantly monitor and control the x-ray delivery that changes many times a minute during IMRT. The MLC is an electro-mechanical device that under computer control sculpts the x-ray beam into any irregular shape desired.