The Willis Knighton TomoTherapy Unit was the 4th in the United States and only the 6th in the world. The department has been named a Center of Excellence for TomoTherapy and is specifically researching stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery with the device.
TomoTherapy is a form of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) which is a clinically superior treatment in many cases due to the ability to minimize radiation to healthy tissues. TomoTherapy is designed to simplify the treatment process and minimize dose to sensitive healthy structures. The TomoTherapy system uses Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) by taking a special CT scan just before each treatment. This allows them to verify and adjust the patient’s position as necessary to help ensure that the radiation is precisely directed to the target area. Unlike traditional IMRT, the TomoTherapy system combines IMRT with a helical (or spiral) delivery pattern to deliver radiation from 360 degrees in accordance with the prescribed treatment plan.
TomoTherapy at Willis-Knighton is also used to perform stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). SRS and SBRT are treatments that deliver high doses of radiation to specific sites with little radiation dose to surrounding tissues. Radiosurgery also offers the patient a non-invasive option when tumors are inside or near critical structures or when surgery may not be a good option. Because of the high doses of radiation patients typically need 3-5 treatments instead of multiple weeks of daily therapy but sometimes are treated with as few as 1 treatment.