Tattoo and Mark-Free Treatment
Drawing marks on a patient’s skin or making dots with a permanent tattoo has been a common step in the process of radiation therapy.
A Tattoo and Mark-Free Treatment Approach
Radiation therapy, guided by AlignRT®, can eliminate the need for these tattoos and skin marks for many patients.
The technology projects a random series of patterns on your skin, acting like thousands of virtual tattoos. These images are inputted into a software program that monitors your positioning with sub-millimeter accuracy and ensures you are treated in the correct position.
Just as effective as tattoos¹
AlignRT® has been shown in several studies to be at least as accurate as either marks or tattoos for positioning patients prior to treatment therapy.
Where you get your treatment matters
“I am very pleased with the fact that I did not have to get tattooed for my treatment. I did not want a constant reminder of my diagnosis. The Vision RT system I feel is quite amazing, and it tracks the body surface for accuracy, and I am glad to be getting treated at a center that utilizes the state-of-the-art technology.” stated GenesisCare patient Nicolas M.
Find a tattoo and mark-free radiation center near you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Radiation Tattoos and Marks
Why are tattoos sometimes used?
Marks and tattoos historically allowed your radiation team to know exactly where to treat each day. These small tattoos and skin marks can provide alignment to the desired treatment area and are used as a guide at each of your radiation treatment visits. On average, patients receive three to four marks.
Technology is advancing, more and more centers are starting to adopt a new, more advanced tattoo and mark-free standard of treatment with AlignRT®.
Are they permanent?
Yes, some centers use permanent tattoos. During your simulation visit, permanent tattoos are applied to your skin to outline the treatment field. On average, patients receive three to four small marks.
Other centers use temporary marks made with a semi-permanent marker. These marks would also be applied at your simulation visit. It is important that these skin marks are kept for the duration of treatment to allow for accurate positioning each day. You will need to be careful when bathing and washing not to remove these marks.
How do patients feel about tattoos?
For some individuals, radiation tattoos do not bother them. The needle itself can feel like a needle prick or bee sting. And, in the long term, patients may not notice or be bothered by the permanent marking. Some even see it as a reminder of their journey through their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, if you feel tattoos are not right for you, it is possible to have the same treatment accuracy or better using other techniques.
Where can I hear from people who have had tattoos or a clinician’s perspective?
1.Shah AP, et al. Clinical evaluation of interfractional variations for whole breast radiotherapy using 3-dimensional surface imaging. Pract Radiat Oncol 2013;3 (1):16-25.