Should You Buy a Used Linac Over a New System?

Medical-grade Linear accelerators are investments, not an impulse buy. That being said, a linear accelerator is a very important tool in any oncologist office. Owners of a medical oncologist clinic have the option of purchasing a new linac system or invest in a used system, and there are advantages and disadvantages for both. You can essentially break the parameters into three (or more) situations:

Your Office Space

The space and size of your medical office or clinic is a good factor when deciding to go either used or new for a linac system. Smaller clinics will benefit from a used system, especially those with a small client-base that don’t move through more than a handful of patients a day. This also pertains to offices that are new and just getting started, or established offices that are small in space. Offices and clinics just starting up can go with a used system at first and upgrade to a brand-new system when the profits call for it.

Your Intentions

Not all offices and clinics revolve heavily around the use of a linac, but rather use it sparingly. This is a simple reason to go with a used system over a new one. Operating these systems can get expensive, and offices that heavily use a linac system with all the bells and whistles accompanying it have better use for a shiny new device. Conversely, those offices or clinics that only use it sparingly can go with a used model that is more stripped down to a model precisely tuned for their needs. You also may be a new office with the intention of having a higher-level model in the future, but current-day budgets don’t allow it, which calls for a more budget-friendly used system.

Your Experience

Is your office or clinic moving? Do you have any intention of moving in the next year or so? Are you generally a busier clinic with many patients? New linac systems are great for busier and more modern clinics but for those with the need for backup units a used system is better to keep on hand for when a new system breaks down, especially with all the parts that go into such a device. Similarly, if you’re a clinic that has plans to move everything it may be easier for the future if you go with a used system that will be installed only to be uninstalled for a big move. Even higher-tiered clinics can find themselves moving, so this is something to keep in mind when setting up a clinic initially when starting up.

Medical grade linear accelerators are a product in which all oncologist clinics should be investing. That being said, making a purchase can be smarter when going with a used system rather than new; it just depends on your office space, intentions with the system, and overall experience of running your clinic.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.

Knowing the Ins and Outs of Linac Repairs Part 1


Understanding the complexities of linear accelerators can be rather difficult since these machines are such large, expensive machines. A linear accelerator operates by delivering external beam radiation treatments to patients fighting cancer, but they also include additional imaging systems that are attached such as portal dosimetry or onboard imaging which too add to the complexity. Due to such precise functionality of such a variety of parts inside the unit, it is crucial for any clinic to have the proper expertise on-site to work on these machines and know exactly what these systems do.

The Importance Of Treatments

Investing in proper expertise is a very serious matter for the oncology department to consider due to the fact that patients receiving the treatment must continue a regular schedule with as little amount of downtime as possible because of the cumulative effect that radiation has on the cancer cells and if treatment is stopped, the entire treatment process will have to be restarted all over again.

In-Depth Training

A clinical engineer not only needs to know how to complete a repair on a broken or damaged part of a linear accelerator but needs to understand the actual process of how the equipment is designed to work during treatments. Troubleshooting can be very difficult if not familiar with the problem that is being described by the clinic operators. It is part of the technician’s job to be able to translate what an issue could be related to a piece of software or hardware component. Developing this skill set and the understanding of linear accelerators takes a great deal of time and not always be taught in just a few sessions of training during a treatment occurring. Training alone is not effective enough when needing technicians to perform repairs at clinics. Vendor service schools can range anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 or even possibly higher depend on the level of expertise. The portion for training on linac is roughly 6 weeks of school during a 2-year period however additional schooling can be done for onboard imaging as well. The entire process could take 3 to 4 years to complete which will include hands-on experience.

Finding The Right Time for Repairs

Linac parts are regularly checked during preventative maintenance visits which are generally recommended by the manufacturer to occur 3 to 4 times each year. Each maintenance visit requires detailed checklists and the individualized machines also have onboard alert systems programmed to shut off a device if a problem is found to prevent safety concerns. The most difficult question that needs to be solved is when can time be taken to actual repair the Linac equipment? In many facilities, patients are scheduled every 15 minutes throughout an 8-hour period, 5 days a week. With the importance of continuing treatments for a clinic’s patients, downtime is the worst part of the day. If possible, a technician will bypass the issue and continue limping along, treating patients when possible. Much service work is then performed after hours or on nights/ weekends. Some clinics choose to have a backup machine when these instances occur and one needs repair but this adds on additional costs and still extended hours added to a facility.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



LINAC Removal and Disposal Service

Out with the old and in with the new as people always say. Replacing your radiation equipment is a must in the cancer treatment world to better provide quality and efficient services to cancer patients worldwide. If repairs to linear accelerators exceeds the value of the machines, it is best to begin looking at buying a new or refurbished linear accelerator to replace it. The removal of your equipment is no easy task and should consult the professionals that are experienced in this process to comply with state regulations, liability and safety concerns, and to ensure it is done properly so that you do not spend additional money to get services done multiple times.

Preventing Prolonged Downtime

With every linear accelerator replacement or removal, a clinic will expect to have treatment for their clinics to be suspended. This delay can be very difficult and dangerous for many cancer patients due to the nature of the sickness. Radiation therapy destroys the DNA of cancerous cells much faster than healthy cells which is a large advantage in cancer treatment. Healthy cells recover from radiation quicker sometimes even by the next days treatment while the cancer cells continue to become weaker. Interruptions to this treatment schedule will allow cancer cells to grow back and gain strength so down time is not really an option for many of people. Having to travel to a new hospital for treatment is not ideal so many clinics may try to have a second machine that can be of use, but this too can be an expensive alternative for the companies.

Moving the Linear Accelerator Equipment

The process of moving a linear accelerator to a new location or for disposal can be quite a large task and by large they estimate roughly 25,000 pounds that stand over 8 feet high. Despite their massive size, they are very fragile and must be moved properly and with most care which can take extensive amount of time anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks even. Depending on the type of linac being removed, concrete floors or walls may have to be broken around the base frame so that future construction for renovations can be completed.

Purchasing Refurbished Equipment Vs New

When ready to purchase a replacement linear accelerator there are a few options to consider since this is a big financial decision. A new linear accelerator on average can cost $2,928,771. Purchasing a refurbished linear accelerator is considerably less in comparison. A refurbished or used linear accelerator does not mean that it is old or outdated technology. Many newer style oncology equipment can be found on used product market. Buyers can purchase the latest technology at a more affordable price with refurbished. Another advantage, many of the machines are upgraded frequently with platforms designed for the used systems.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



Pre-planning Linac Maintenance

Medical linear accelerators have continued to make progress through history since the late 1950’s and pave new ways for curing a variety of different cancers that once were not an option to treat. The design of the equipment combines the use of hardware and software that together gives the advantage of precision and overall success of today’s cancer treatment worldwide. Manufacturing and design continue to evolve and become a better tool for future use in reliability and efficiency but as with all mechanical systems, dysfunction and failures still exist. Having unplanned accelerator downtime and failures can impact a company and its patients very negatively. The scheduled treatments need to be performed at precise times given by the cancer specialists for an effective procedure while fighting against cancer. To avoid these situations from occurring, proper testing and maintenance of the radiology equipment must be done.

Steps During Maintenance

  1. Deliver a daily quality assurance (QA) treatment
  2. Automatically move and examine the log files that are created
  3. Create baselines, then perform daily operating and performance values to statistical process control (SPC) for examination
  4. Investigate if any alarms have been activated
  5. Inform the facility and system service engineers

Trained Professionals

Medical physicists will typically receive basic training of the principals of linear accelerators functionality, but much hands-on experience will be lacking since there is a limited access to linacs that’s are in clinical use but more importantly because these devices can only be adjusted with small set of parameters to maintain. For actual technicians, training for service personnel is generally one of the largest components to a person early on in employment. The process can be lengthy and costly and require unique training from the manufacturer of linear accelerator company.

Scheduled Maintenance and Repairs

Typically, Linac machines will be under an annual service contract that will provide scheduled, preventative maintenance throughout the year to keep the radiotherapy machines running optimally. Keep in mind, older equipment may reach their “end of life” period and may no longer be supported or even worse parts can become sparse or unavailable which may be a reason to start to look for replacement linear accelerators. Extending the life of your current systems with upgrades will be the most cost-effective option for your business. By repairing or upgrading the system this will also not only save money but save precious down time that will need to be taken if having to remove and install new equipment is needed. Not having a machine functioning will mean no treatments being performed which could cost you losing valuable patients.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.

Techniques Used in Radiation Therapy

The leading cause of death globally remains to be cancer. The word cancer is often used when a person describes how a loved family or friend dies. The first cancer treatments appreciated were introduced in 1895 after the discovery of Xrays. Cancer treatment has continued to progress at an increasing rate each year with new technology and growth in knowledge on the subject. There are many treatment options to be considered such as radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormonal therapy.

Radiation therapy continues to be one of the most important components of treatments available since it’s estimated 50% of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy during their sickness. The reason for such a high amount of uses for this type of treatment is the efficiency to target the cancer cells with beams of radiation produced by radiation equipment called a linear accelerator or LINAC. The high energy x ray beams destroy the cancer cells while preventing radiation damage from the healthy cells. Radiation therapy can be delivered in two different ways, the first is through External beam radiation. This type is the most common and is used from the outside of a patient’s body by aiming the radiation beams at the location of tumor. The second type of delivery is Internal radiation or also called brachytherapy. Internal radiation is done through the inside of the body by radioactive sources such as catheters or seeds directly into the tumor.

Fractionation

Radiation dose fractionation is radiotherapy delivered in a fractionated form. This type of therapy generally increases the survival of normal tissues and cells over the cancer cells. Normal cells multiply more slowly compared to the rapid increasing cancer cells which allows the healthy cells more time to heal before they replicate.

3D Conformal Radiotherapy

New technology has allowed older 2D radiation therapy that previously used rectangular fields based on plain X-ray imaging to be replaced with 3D radiation therapy based on CT imaging. This replacement allows for a more accurate target of the tumor as well as precise location of other normal organ structures for the most efficient beam placement and shielding to occur.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Oncologists can create irregular-shaped radiation doses that take shape of the tumor while also having the ability to avoid other organs with IMRT technology. This process is all possible due to two factors which are inverse planning software and also computer controlled intensity modulation of multiple radiation beams during the process.

Image-guided Radiotherapy

The possibility to miss a tumor due to organ movement or the variations needed for each patient’s setup it becomes even more important for treatment options to be more precise than ever before. When critical tissue and organs are close to the tumor, a slight positional error could lead to radiation damage to the healthy cells. IRGT is created and utilized to allow detection of these such errors by the information taken through pre-radiotherapy imaging which can be used for corrections.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

Another type of treatment that is possible today due to advances in newer technology is SBRT. This treatment delivers very high separate doses of radiation over only a few treatment fractions to destroy small tumors anywhere in the body of patient. The side effects of this however, tissues that are close in proximity to the tumor is likely to get damaged due to the high radiation dose. Since the amount of normal tissue effected is small in the high does region, toxicity is less.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



Choosing Radparts For Your Linac Needs

Radparts is a unique supplier of OEM replacement parts for linear accelerators and CT scanners.  We partner with Acceletronics who offers a number of services surrounding LINACS including sales of new and refurbished radiation equipment, the servicing of radiation equipment, and a variety of services including relocation and removal of linear accelerators.  This arrangement allows us to provide services that other companies cannot.

Selling new and refurbished medical equipment can be quiet a challenge.  This is true of CT scanners, linear accelerators, MRI systems, and other higher valued medical equipment.  Medical facilities face a great deal of challenges of their own with making large scaled equipment such as financing, regulations, time issues, delays, and a million other obstacles that can cause delays.  When working with the team at Acceletronics and Radparts we help to create a process that is practically seamless for our clients.  This allows you to focus on growing their business and creating an environment to offer the most complete and comprehensive patient care program for patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Why We Are Better Than the Rest

  • Short-Terms Solutions – Sometimes facilities need a little more time to prepare for the installation and delivery of their new or refurbished linear accelerator.  When our clients find themselves in need of a temporary solution to ensure their patients needs are met, we have them covered.  Our sister company, Acceletronics, has pre-owned equipment that can be purchased to buy some time. These systems can then be utilized as a back up at a later date or resold.  This is often a more affordable solution than renting a mobile unit.
  • Financing – New facilities and healthcare centers do not often have a lot of capital to buy and operate new medical equipment.  We offer financing options as well as less expensive refurbished equipment that can be used to provide quality care to patients until facilities are more established.
  • Contracts for Service – We offer a number of contracts for servicing equipment. The major benefit is the team effort between Acceletronics and Radparts which ensures the parts that are needed to service your equipment are available and ready when needed.  Here at Radparts we specialize in parts for repairing all linear accelerators and radiation equipment.  We are the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for LINAC. With over 65,000 parts in stock and 3,200 individual line items – we are almost guaranteed to have what is needed to service or repair your equipment in a timely fashion.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



Installment Two – The Process of Treating Cancer Using Radiation

In our first installment on treating cancer with radiation we took a look in to exactly what radiation therapy was, how it worked, and how treatment is planned and delivered.  In today’s installment we will look deeper into what patients can and cannot doing during treatment, how long treatment sessions take, what to expect, and potential side effects.

During treatment are there particular things I should or shouldn’t do?

It is hard to believe however, life as normal can continue while you receive radiation therapy.  In fact, the less interruption to your overall schedule, the better.  Try to think of radiation as you would any other appointment, don’t make it any more important than any other task in your daily life.  Taking the importance away helps to ease anxiety.  Consider the following when planning treatment:

Radiation therapy is performed using a linear accelerator.  Some Skin tumors require a superficial x-ray unit, however for the most part radiation is delivered using a LINAC system.  You will be required to lay still while on the table/couch underneath the linear accelerator while the treatment is occurring.  You will feel nothing at all during the procedure.  Many times, you don’t even know that treatment has occurred.  A myth has circulated that you will be radio active after radiation therapy however this is incorrect.  There is not a possibility of this at all.

Treatment can range from a single treatment, one time to multiple treatments a week for several weeks.  This depends on a number of different factors including the type of cancer, where it is located, and how it is responding to treatment.  Treatment is most often done during the week.    The duration of your session will vary as well depending on the LINAC system that is used, and duration set in your treatment plan.  Certain linear accelerators operate faster than others and certain cancers require slow and steady treatment.  Your radiation oncologist will go over your specific case when reviewing your treatment plan.

During treatment it is important to drink plenty of fluids while eating regularly.  A small, balanced meal several times a day will help with energy loss.  It is also important to keep up on your regular, daily hygiene regimen.  Try to avoid extreme foods of any nature, too spicy, too hot, too cold, and so on are not desirable when receiving treatment.  It is also important to avoid extreme sun exposure during radiation as your skin will be more sensitive to burns.

What side effects should I be prepared for?

Radiation therapy provides a localized treatment which means that any side effect will depend on where it is received.  You may experience the following:

Nausea: Depending on where treatment is given you may feel nauseous during or after treatment.  (This could also be nerves) Whatever the case symptoms can easily be treated with the use of anti-nausea medication.

Diarrhea: As with nausea, diarrhea can be treated with medicine.  Depending on severity a dietician can help prepare your diet to prevent future occurrences.

Sore Throat/Mouth: If you are having treatment done on your mouth or throat you can experience some tenderness.  Your oncologist will offer suggestions to help prevent chewing and swallowing difficulties.

Increased Urination: Treatment in the lower abdomen and pelvic region can lead to frequently needing to relieve yourself.  To prevent discomfort be sure to stay well hydrated by drinking extra water throughout the day.  Take note of drastic changes which could be signally an infection verse side effects from treatment.

Hair Loss:  This too is localized to the treatment area.  Hair loss may occur on your chest, arms, legs, face, and head depending on where the radiation treatment is performed.

Can I continue to work?

As stated earlier, keeping your routine as normal is possible is key.  Of course, each treatment plan is different, and your oncologist may recommend rest after treatment.  If this is the case, you will want to follow their specific instructions.  Once treatment is finished any side effects and symptoms should subside within a few weeks.

Will I need to follow up?

After radiation therapy is performed you will need to follow up with your physician.  In most cases, the first time you meet after treatment will be between four and six weeks.  This is not true in all cases and therefore it is important to work with your doctor to make these arrangements at the time of or before your last treatment of radiation.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.