When it comes to medical equipment a linear accelerator is considered the “workhorse” as it is used again and again, every day. Some facilities, with lower patient counts, can often still use a linear accelerator that can be decades old whereas larger facilities often replace their radiation oncology equipment regularly every few years. In the United States, linear accelerator equipment and other larger pieces of radiation equipment are upgraded every decade.
When you are ready for an upgrade depends on a number of things. A few indicators that it is time to upgrade your linear accelerator include:
You want to provide treatment to more clients, provide higher quality of care, and provide treatment for a wider variety of cases.
Newer technology can empower a facility to provide faster and more precise, or more integrated, treatment. An upgrade may allow a broader ability to take on any case. For example, an upgrade to offer SRS (Stereotactic Radio Surgery) to treat head and neck cases may be an option. Other common upgrades include:
- Upgrading the MLC
- Updating the portal imaging system
- Adding VMAT capabilities
- Enhancing the couch
The goal of your facility is to maintain a competitive edge.
Expanding your capabilities means referrals can also grow. Enhanced capabilities enable physicians to direct new types of treatment cases. Patients who had to be referred to another clinic may now come to your clinic.
Maintenance expenses are continual and keep adding up.
Many LINAC systems will be under an annual service contract, with preventive maintenance visits throughout the year to keep the machines working smoothly. However, older machines that have reached their “end-of-life” may no longer be supported and, in worst-case scenarios, some of the replacement parts may not be available at all.
Replacing the linear accelerator is not an option.
Extending the life of a machine with upgrades is less costly than purchasing a new machine. It also means less downtime as your old machine is removed and a new one installed, a process which can take as long as five weeks. No machine means no treatments, and you risk losing patients.
Any of these reasons may compel you to consider replacing your facility’s linear accelerator. If that’s the case, first consider adding upgrades. Upgrading your existing system can give you the power and capabilities you want, cost-effectively.
Acceletronics is an independent service company dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from Linear Accelerators and CT Scanners across all major brands and models. Learn more about Acceletronics and their selection of new and refurbished linear accelerators and CT scanners today at http://www.acceletronics.com. To contact one of our LINAC experts call 610.524.3300.