Tuesday, June 01, 2010

05/26/10 - Radiation Simulation

Posted 6/1. Last Wednesday afternoon, I had a radiation simulation, my fifth one. Seems like I just had one (3/25/10)! Below are some pictures of CT ("Cat") Scans, in progress... Click on any picture to enlarge it.

My lower body protruding from CT Scanner, blue arrows point to marks on my skin

CT scans are used to line up external marks to internal areas, such as my L4 vertebra, which is due for treatment by this round of radiation. This way, the radiation technicians can accurately position my body for treatments in the future. The radiation machine also takes a couple of X-Rays to more precisely position me at each treatment, in between when the techs leave the radiation room and the actual radiation treatment begins.

My upper body protruding from CT Scanner, blue arrows point to marks on my skin

During the simulation process, the technician draws several plus signs (+) on me for markers. For this simulation, I know that the tech marked the first "+" on a tattoo (a small, permanent dot) on the skin above my lower spinal column. The tattoo was created at my last simulation. After that first mark, lasers were aligned, and I had two more reference marks placed on my sides in blue pen.

Reference BBs (fiducials), that were stuck to pen marks (+ signs) on my body

Before my final CT scan, the tech placed little stickers on each of my three plus signs, or reference marks. The stickers have a metal "bee-bee" on them an they are placed so that they line up with the plus sign center (think cross-hair). The BBs show up as bright spots on the CT scan, referencing the marks on my skin to my internal anatomy. Voila! The simulation is done!


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