RapidArc™ Radiotherapy Technology

RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems delivers treatments  using images to guide patient placement and treatment delivery. 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.

Planning

Like other forms of radiation therapy, RapidArc treatments are planned using sophisticated computer programs that analyze diagnostic image data and calculate the best way of delivering the radiation dose to minimize impact on healthy tissues for each patient.

Imaging

Immediately prior to treatment, the exact location, size, and shape of the patient’s tumor is visually observed through a simple two-minute imaging procedure using the machine’s On-Board Imager.

Positioning

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.

Treatment

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 tumor precisely, sparing surrounding healthy tissues. It treats the entire tumor 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. 


Reviewed by Cancer Institute Staff: 3/2016