Intensity-modulated radiotherapy in head and neck cancer — an update for oral and maxillofacial surgeons
Publication date: Available online 26 August 2017 Source:British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Author(s): P.A. Brennan, K.L. Bradley, M. Brands Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a relatively new method of delivering radiotherapy, can precisely target a point within a specific tumour and reduce the dose to nearby anatomical structures. This is particularly important in the head and neck where radiotherapy can easily and irreparably damage the salivary glands, spinal cord, and eyes, and where, with increasingly better outcomes and survival, late complications of conventional radiotherapy (including osteoradionecrosis of the cervical spine) can be difficult to manage. IMRT has the potential advantage of reducing side effects including xerostomia and myelopathy of the cervical spinal cord. Several clinical trials have recently been published, and in this update we give an overview of IMRT for oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and discuss what the future may hold for radiotherapy.
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