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VMAT picture
Volume Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)

In January 2010 we treated our first patient using a technique called volume modulated arc therapy (VMAT).

VMAT allows the X-rays to be conformed to the shape of the tumour volume whilst minimising dose to the surrounding healthy tissue.  It is an advanced form of Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy.

During a VMAT treatment the X-ray machine rotates around the patient whilst the tumour is being irradiated. As the machine rotates, the shape of the radiation beam is continuously changing. 

What are the clinical advantages of VMAT?

VMAT has a special role to play where the site of disease is wrapped          
around a sensitive organ. In the image shown here, VMAT has been
used to deliver a high dose of radiation to the target (red) while
minimising the dose to the spinal cord (blue).

VMAT allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the
tumour without increasing the side effects of the treatment.

Another important benefit of VMAT is that it significantly reduces the
length of time the patient has to spend on the treatment bed.

When would we use VMAT?

VMAT is offered to any patient who will receive a significant clinical advantage from the technique. All patient treatments are individually planned and the most suitable technique will always be selected.

How does VMAT work?
During treatment the machine continuously rotates around the patient so that radiation beams are aimed at the tumour from many different angles. This attacks the target in a complete three-dimensional manner.

During a rotation the intensity of the beam is varied so that different parts of the body receive different doses.  This is achieved using a device called a multi-leaf collimator, or MLC. The MLC changes the shape of the radiation beam during the treatment.  This is demonstrated in the videos below. 

 If you don't have access to YouTube, click here to download and view the video.

If you don't have access to YouTube, click here to download and view the video.