Is one head and neck immobilization system as good as another? One center's experience

Leah Lord, Sharon May, Michael John Bailey, Leigh Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The William Buckland Radiotherapy Center has used 2 different immobilization systems for patients requiring radiotherapy to the head-and-neck region. A polycarbonate mask was manufactured for radical treatments and a thermoplastic mask for palliative treatments. This study evaluated field placement accuracy, staff opinion, and production costs of both systems. The manual matching program of Varian PortalVision Electronic Portal Imaging (EPI) System was used to assess field placement accuracy on a daily basis. Radiation therapists (RTs) were surveyed before and after the study to determine their opinions of each system. Production time and required materials were recorded to assess cost. Nineteen patients from each system had daily EPI results compiled with no statistically significant difference observed in field placement accuracy. The thermoplastic system was found to be more cost efficient due to a combination of the reduced production time and reuseability of the masks. User acceptability of the thermoplastic system has increased so that it is now the preferred system. In conclusion, the thermoplastic system is a viable alternative to the polycarbonate system in terms of treatment accuracy and cost. It is recommended that the thermoplastic system be used for all radical and palliative treatments. In addition, RTs prefer the thermoplastic system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Dosimetrists
  • Electronic portal imaging
  • Head and neck
  • Immobilization
  • Radiotherapy

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