Prior to undergoing radiation therapy, there are several steps involved to create a unique treatment plan for the patient. At the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology (ACFRO), the Medical Physicist/Dosimetrist is responsible for designing a treatment plan and carrying out calculations for the delivery of radiation for each patient. The treatment plan and radiation field-placement techniques are constructed utilizing sophisticated computer equipment and technology. At ACFRO, our Dosimetrist is assisted by Contour Protégé AI, a new, state-of-the-art software package which generates contouring images that can be easily edited to precisely map the prostate and surrounding organs.
What is prostate contouring?
Prostate contouring is a computer generated “map” that carefully and precisely outlines the prostate gland, surrounding organs and structures such as the bladder, rectum, seminal vesicles and penile bulb. Contouring is completed prior to treatment in order to accurately target the cancerous tumor for radiation, while ensuring that minimal levels of radiation affect surrounding healthy tissue and organs.
What is Contour Protégé AI?
Contour Protégé AI is a computer program developed by MIM Software that gives a baseline set of contour images which can be easily and quickly manipulated by a Dosimetrist. This software is designed to produce meticulous outlines of the prostate and normal structures to aid in treatment planning.
Benefits of Protégé AI
Below is a list of benefits, noted by the ACFRO Dosimetrist, that is gained by using Protégé AI software in the initial planning stages.
- Protégé AI produces very accurate contours in a fraction of the time compared to contouring from scratch.
- The detailed images help immensely with contouring the prostate / rectum interface. There are parts of the rectum that are oftentimes hard to distinguish because it is so close to the rectum.
- Imaging is easily edited when technology is misled by some type of anomaly on the patient’s imaging.
- The patient’s imaging (CT scan/MRI) is easily overlaid on Protégé contouring to double check that the prostate is identified, aligned and contained.
- Allows more time to be spent on each patient’s treatment plan.
Click this link to learn more about Contour Protégé AI and to watch a video featuring ACFRO members Dr. Richard Garza, Radiation Oncologist and Brad Pollard, Medical Physicist/ Dosimetrist.