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CT Simulator Ribbon Cutting


The new CT simulator is just one way VCU Health CMH and Massey Cancer Center are enhancing cancer care locally.

CT Simulator Ribbon Cutting


The Solari Radiation Therapy Center located at 750 Lombardy Street in South Hill will host a ribbon cutting and open house on June 13 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the addition of their new CT Simulator

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recently installed a Canon Medical Aquilion™ Large Bore computed tomography (CT) simulator, which is specifically designed to increase comfort and enhance quality of care for patients in need of radiation treatments.

When the Solari Radiation Therapy Center, the only radiation treatment facility in Southern Virginia, was built in 2013, the footprint for a CT simulator was there but did not come to full fruition until now.

Construction began in January 2019 to add to the Solari Radiation Center the 830 square foot dedicated suite to house the new simulator and control room. Construction was completed in April and the new CT simulator was installed the week of April 29th. The first patient was scanned on May

Prior to the acquisition of the new Aquilion LB, radiation oncology patients would have to travel to the hospital for CT simulation, which is a critical preparation step before radiation treatment. With the new simulator now located right in the cancer center, radiation treatment planning is more convenient for patients. Radiation oncology staff, including the radiation oncologist, would travel to the hospital with the patient for simulation. Now staff do not have to leave the center, allowing for better patient flow and fewer backups.

“We are proud to offer the latest technology to our patients,” said Monica Morris, MD, Medical Director of the Solari Radiation Therapy Center. “Our hope is that this new technology makes a difference in the lives of those who need to undergo radiation as part of their cancer treatment.”

The simulator is a specialized CT scanner that allows radiation therapists to place oncology patients in the optimal treatment position. It takes pictures in slices of bones, tissue and blood vessels; which are then used to “map” the area of the body that needs treatment. This process is called “simulation” because the treatment is not actually being administered. During the simulation phase of radiation treatment, CT imaging is used along with aids such as skin tattoos, photographs and immobilization devices.

Tumors move with the patient’s breath,” said Melodee Wolfe, M.P., DABR, Director of Clinical Physics. “This new feature provides us with an additional way to capture the location and movement of the tumor and the movement of organs over time. This is especially valuable for tumors located on or near organs that move, such as those in the chest.”

The simulator’s 4D acquisition mode allows the series of images to coincide with the respiratory cycle, which helps care providers visualize internal movement of the tumor and organs. In the past, oncologists accounted for the tumor’s movement by creating slightly wider margins or guiding the patient through breathing techniques during the scan. This new feature provides the care team with an additional way to narrowly target the tumor with radiation and avoid healthy tissue.

In addition, the new CT simulator features a 90cm bore (or opening). This wider bore increases access and comfort for patients, especially those who are claustrophobic or need more room. The table itself can also be lowered closer to the floor, easing the way for elderly patients and those with physical limitations. For clinicians, the wider diameter makes it easier to optimally position the patient for treatment and allows for larger immobilization devices.

The new CT simulator is just one way VCU Health CMH and Massey Cancer Center are enhancing cancer care locally.