Surface-Guided Radiation Therapy

What is surface-guided radiation therapy?

Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT) uses multiple cameras to track the surface of your body. SGRT allows us to:

  • Create a real-time, 3-dimensional map of your skin
  • Increase the accuracy of your positioning before treatment begins
  • Make sure that radiation is precisely targeted throughout your treatment

By monitoring thousands of unique points on the surface of your body, SGRT double-checks the location and position of your body during treatment against the pre-treatment scans of your internal anatomy that were used to plan the dose and timing of your treatment. 

Radiation begins only after SGRT has checked your alignment against your treatment plan. SGRT will stop radiation if your body moves out of alignment, if you cough or sneeze, for example. This prevents beams from being misdirected to the wrong part of your body. We can also use SGRT to help you move strategically during treatment, guiding you to take breaths to inflate your lungs—or briefly hold your breath—as needed.

Why am I having SGRT? 

By using SGRT imaging, we can see in real time whether your body is properly positioned for treatment. Using SGRT helps reduce:

  • The need for extra X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Your total radiation exposure 
  • Your total appointment time

Once treatment begins, we use SGRT to monitor your position and the radiation exiting your body to further minimize any unnecessary radiation. SGRT is particularly valuable during stereotactic radiosurgery of your head, neck, or spine, for example, or to reduce exposure of the heart during radiation to the left breast.

What type of technology does SGRT use?

SGRT uses lights, 3-dimensional cameras, and advanced computations to create a 3-dimensional map of the surface of your body and monitor your position throughout treatment. You might notice a small, red beam—like a flashlight—when SGRT is in use. We use the Horizon camera and AlignRT Advance software, made by VisionRT. Our clinicians have led research to develop these technologies. Our patients have participated in studies that confirmed their value.

What conditions are treated using SGRT?

We use SGRT to treat:

  • Left breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Some head and neck cancers