Tumors are not regular; they come in different shapes and sizes. 3D conformal radiation is a radiation therapy technique that sculpts radiation beams to the shape of a tumor. This is ideal for tumors that have irregular shapes or that lay close to healthy tissues and organs.
Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, or 3D-CRT, uses computers and high definition software with special imaging techniques to map the size, shape and location of the tumor.
Computer Assisted (CT scans), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR scans) and / or Positron Emission Tomography (PET scans) are used, individually or by fusion, to create detailed, three dimensional representations of the tumor and the surrounding organs.
This therapy uses a multileaf collimator (MLC) to precise radiation beam to targeted area. The MLC is a device with a series of computer-controlled leaf-like plates. As the radiation beams are very precisely directed, adjacent normal tissues receives less radiation and are able to heal quickly. Hence, this treatment is superior to, the conventional 2D treatment.
This technique has been largely incorporated into intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)