The machine is typically put together in a few weeks, however, there is still a need for the physicist to accept the Linac to assure that it performs to the vendor specifications and within tolerances outlined in TG-47 and TG-142.
Following acceptance, the machine must be commissioned which requires a thorough understanding of the treatment planning process, while also understanding the nuances in the setup and measurement aspect of data collection. A clinical Physicist, although will be knowledgeable about the commissioning process, will have little experience with the same, owing to lack of opportunity in being a part of the process. We, as a group, are experienced in commissioning many Linear Accelerators. Beam data and profiles will be collected and compared with various other sources to assure accuracy and dependability.
Finally the treatment planning system will need to be commissioned using the collected data to create an accurate beam model by following the procedures listed by the vendor for modeling the different calculation algorithms. After setting up the treatment planning system with all the necessary models, we will test each one of them by comparing the results from the plan created with the models with the output from the LINAC.
Following acceptance and commissioning, detailed reports will be provided by us with our observation and recommendations on various aspects of the LINAC and its accuracy, allowing the clinical physicist to have an understanding of the treatment machine.