Using a belly board device to reduce the small bowel volume within pelvic radiation fields in women with postoperatively treated cervical carcinoma

Kris Ghosh, Luis A. Padilla, Karuna P. Murray, Levi S. Downs, Linda F. Carson, Kathryn E. Dusenbery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective. The purpose of this study was to attempt to reduce the small bowel volume in cervical cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy using the belly board device and a four-field technique. Methods. From 1994 through 1997, twenty-one patients with cervical cancer were referred to the University of Minnesota Medical Center and underwent surgical staging with or without radical hysterectomy followed by postoperative external beam radiotherapy for various indications including positive nodal disease (n = 11), lymph-vascular space invasion (n = 2), poor histology (n = 3), parametrial disease (n = 4), and positive vaginal margin (n = 1). Results. The median age of the 21 patients was 42 years (25-54 years) and a median external beam pelvic radiation dose of 4775 cGy (range, 4200-5075 cGy) was administered. All patients were evaluated for amount of small bowel in the field in both the supine and prone positions, with and without the belly board device (BBD), using a four-field technique. With a full bladder, abdominal radiographs with contrast were obtained to evaluate the volume of small bowel within the radiation fields. In most patients, the BBD was effective at minimizing the amount of small bowel in the lateral fields, whereas a prone position on the treatment table (without the BBD) spared the most small bowel with the AP/PA fields. Therefore over a 2-day cycle, the most small bowel sparing was obtained with the patients treated prone on the BBD for the lateral fields on Day 1 and prone on the table for the AP/PA fields on Day 2. Patients had FIGO stage IB (n = 18), IA2 (n = 1), and IIA (n = 2). The median follow-up was 37 months (24-65 months). No significant acute gastrointestinal or genitourinary toxicity was experienced and no patients have experienced a bowel obstruction to date. Conclusions. The BBD may offer a means for positioning the mobile small intestine out of the radiation field and improving the tolerance of radiotherapy. The BBD provides a noninvasive technique for reduction of acute and chronic gastrointestinal morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

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