A simple and inexpensive method to routinely produce customized neck supports for patient immobilization during radiotherapy

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Accurate and reproducible patient positioning is fundamental to the success of fractionated radiotherapy. Poor patient positioning could result in geographic misses. We have recently reported on an improved method of customized face mask production using laser surface scanning. In this report, we sought to identify and develop a method to routinely make customized neck supports for patients prescribed radiotherapy to the brain or head and neck regions. We identified a potentially suitable product—sealed packs containing two liquids that produce expanding polyurethane foam when mixed—and developed a method for their use. The neck supports are inexpensive and simple to produce (taking less than 5 min of radiation therapist labour). We assessed the customized neck supports in several ways. The effect on setup accuracy was assessed by comparing two consecutive cohorts of patients. Statistically significant differences favouring the customized neck supports included a reduced total displacement error (mean 3.4 vs. 2.1 mm) and a reduced left–right setup error (mean 1.8 vs. 1.1 mm). This is consistent with the greater support provided by the customized neck supports. This method could easily be undertaken by other departments.

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