Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
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Friday, 15 December 2017
The Mould Room

The mould room is where we produce custom made devices to keep our patients in a still, steady and reproducible position.

These are usually requested by the doctor for patients having radiotherapy to the head and neck region, but we have been known to produce items for arms and legs!

Most commonly we produce head and neck shells. The shell is made from a large shaped piece of rigid thermoplastic, but once placed in hot water it becomes soft and stretchy. The soft plastic is then draped over your head and shoulders and comfortably moulded to your body shape and clipped onto the couch top. This sensation is no worse than having a warm flannel placed over you. As the shell stretches, large holes form so you will be able to breathe normally.

The shell remains on for 20 minutes until cool; it will now be set to your individual contours. The shell will be used through all planning and treatment appointments.

 

In some instances the doctor may request the production of a mouth bite to be used during treatment. This involves the patient coming to the mould room and placing a tube into the mouth to bite on; this tube has a small amount of dental impression material wrapped around to take a tooth impression.

This means the jaw is open for radiotherapy treatment so the doctor can give a different amount of radiation dose to the upper and lower oral cavity.

Other examples of face masks made in the mould room are for superficial skin cancers. These are made by taking a plaster impression of the patient, which is a simple procedure of pouring an alginate solution onto the skin, and building up with plaster bandages to give the impression strength. The impression is then taken away to the work shop where lead shielding is made around the area defined for treatment. This allows the X-rays to penetrate the skin whilst sparing any healthy surrounding tissue.

This is the lead mask that fits precisely over the plaster impression.
The only region cut away is on the nose, which is the area to be irradiated.
  This is a plaster impression of a patient’s face. The area circled on the patient’s nose is the region to be treated with radiation.

Before any visit to the mould room our patients would have the procedure fully explained by either the specialist head and neck radiographer or the mould room radiographer, with the opportunity to ask questions and see example shells.