Effectively Serves as a Stable Frame of Reference
This mask allows for a noninvasive reference point in patients undergoing medical treatment. More than 62,000 Americans develop cancer of the head and neck each year, and more than 13,000 die from it. Radiation therapy is commonly used on cancers within and outside of the brain. Because radiation therapy requires precise alignment of the radiation beam, it is necessary to use a fixed reference point on the patient to accurately direct treatment. Researchers at the University of Florida have invented a facemask which supplies a noninvasive referencing device that can be used for multiple treatments on a patient.
Mask for fixing reference points noninvasively on patients
- Molded design permits repeated use on a patient, which reduces inefficiencies
- Eliminates repositioning distortions through a patient-fitted mask, which increases accuracy
- Mask is applicable in a variety of procedures, allowing broad commercial application
- Noninvasive referencing enables use in patients with oral inflammation, which gives a competitive advantage over biteplate methods
Though the primary application of this mask is with medical linear accelerators commonly used in radiation therapy, this invention can be used in medical imaging and with guided surgical tools. Other referencing techniques have been used in single-dose treatments. However, once the referencing frame is removed from the patient, the reference system is lost. To allow repeat referencing, biteplates that are molded to a patient’s teeth have been used. However, biteplates have proven inappropriate in patients with oral inflammation, which often occurs during radiation therapy. The facemask invented here eliminates the need for biteplates by attaching a referencing device to the mask instead of in the patient’s mouth. Moreover, because the mask molds to the patient’s face, it can be used repeatedly without the distortions of other repositioning systems and without the labor of reestablishing an entire reference system.