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In certain locations in the body, such as the lungs, tumors can move as the patient breathes. In the past, this movement has confounded doctors ability to precisely map the tumor location and to accurately deliver radiation therapy.
How respiratory gating works
By integrating respiratory gating software into the treatment plan, doctors can define a physical window similar to a baseball strike zone, and quickly take tumor images or deliver radiation only when the tumor passes through that region.
Without respiratory gating, doctors often deliver radiation to the entire area that a tumor moves through as the patient breathes, ensuring that the tumors gets proper dosing, but also delivering radiation to areas with healthy tissue.
Respiratory gating software eliminates the need to apply radiation with such broad strokes, instead focusing radiation on the tumor, and sparing more healthy tissue. This is particularly useful for tumors near the lungs, where radiation-induced scarring can impair future breathing.
The ability to deliver higher doses of radiation makes it possible for doctors to consider giving therapy over fewer visits, making radiation treatment more convenient for patients.