Benefits of superficial hyperthermia treatment planning: Five case studies
Purpose: To demonstrate the benefits of treatment planning in superficial hyperthermia. Materials and methods: Five patient cases are presented, in which treatment planning was applied to troubleshoot treatment-limiting hotspots, to select the optimum applicator type and orientation, to assess the risk associated with metallic implants, to assess the feasibility of heating a deeper seated tumour, and to analyse the effective SAR coverage resulting from arrays of multiple incoherent applicators. FDTD simulation tools were used to investigate treatment options, either based on segmented or simplified anatomies. Results: The background, approach and model implementation are presented per case. SAR cross-sections, profiles and isosurfaces are visualized to predict the effective SAR coverage of the target and the location of the maximum power absorption. In addition, the followed treatment strategy and the implications for the clinical treatment are given: for example, higher temperatures, relief of treatment limiting hot-spots or increased power input. Conclusions: Treatment planning in superficial hyperthermia can be applied to improve clinical routine. Its application supports the selection of the optimum technique in non-standard cases, leading to direct benefits for the patient. In addition, treatment planning has shown to be an excellent tool for education and training for hyperthermia technicians and physicians.