PhD Max Schoepen

Exploring the advanced features of the Open Access Breast Couch


In my PhD I started from the Breast Couch developed by dr. ing. Bert Boute (IO, UGent) and Prof. Dr. Wilfried De Neve (Human Structure and Repair, UGent). This is a positioning device for breast cancer radiotherapy that exceeds the state-of-the-art by introducing a new patient positioning, namely 'prone crawl'. This allows the patient to lie comfortably still during therapy and also allows greater access to the beam. This ultimately allows for better treatments, avoids irradiation of healthy tissue, and leads to superior acute effects and long-term survival. During my PhD, I further developed the initial proof-of-concept, which resulted in a device that is ready for use in other hospitals. We also explored the advanced capabilities of the Breast Couch, primarily by investigating the integration of deep inhalation breathing. A prolonged inhalation causes an anatomical shift in the organs, which can spare healthy tissue. To make this possible, we had to modify the Breast Couch so that the breath hold was both mentally and physically feasible.


Foto detail breastboard