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Treatment planning equipment: teletherapy and brachytherapy


Introduction

After the installation of a treatment planning system (TPS) in a hospital, acceptance testing and commissioning of the system is required, i.e., a comprehensive series of operational tests has to be performed before using the TPS for treating patients. These tests do not only serve to ensure the safe use of the system in the clinic, but also help the user in appreciating the possibilities of the system and understanding its limitations. Because of the complexity and magnitude of the testing required, coordinating these activities with the vendor and with institutions having the same system provides valuable information and saves a lot of duplication of tests.

Important Principles

The purpose of acceptance testing is to demonstrate to the user at the hospital that the TPS meets the specifications as defined by the user and/or the manufacturer, and that the results with the hardware and software as installed at the user's site are consistent with the type tests performed previously by the manufacturer at the factory. Commissioning of a TPS involves the user to obtain, usually by measurement, very specific data that are needed for the proper functioning of the dose calculation algorithms for the radiation therapy machine that is used to treat patients in the user's clinic.

Introduction to References

Several reports exist that provide a comprehensive set of acceptance and commissioning tests of a TPS including IAEA Report TRS 430. Other reports such as ESTRO Booklet No. 7 and IAEA-TECDOCs-1540 and 1583 allow institutions to perform in a relatively straightforward way a limited number of tests on their TPS to guarantee the correct performance of a number of functions relevant for accurate treatment planning purposes. ESTRO Booklet No. 8 discusses acceptance testing and commissioning of a TPS for brachytherapy. The AAPM TG 119 report provides tests for IMRT commissioning. Additional information can be found in the IAEA Radiation Oncology Physics Handbook.