What Is the Difference Between a Wing Board and a Breast Board?

When it comes to positioning patients in radiation therapy, the use of specialized devices becomes paramount in ensuring accuracy and efficient treatment delivery. This is where wing boards and breast boards come into play, serving distinct purposes in the process. A wing board, primarily designed with the intention of aiding in positioning a patient's arms overhead, proves to be an invaluable tool in achieving the desired treatment outcomes. By allowing the patient's arms to be positioned above their head, the wing board facilitates optimal alignment and stability during radiation therapy procedures. Additionally, a breast board serves a similar purpose, albeit with a different focus. The primary objective of a breast board is to move the patient's arm out of the way for tangent fields, ensuring unobstructed access to the treatment site. Furthermore, a breast board has the added functionality of inclining the patient and providing a flat sternal angle, enabling healthcare professionals to achieve the optimal position for radiation therapy.

What Is a Breast Board?

A breast board is a specialized medical device used in radiation therapy for patients receiving treatment for breast cancer. This device is designed to support the patients head and shoulders in a specific position to ensure accurate and reproducible treatment delivery.

By securely holding the patients head and shoulders in place, it allows for precise targeting of the cancerous tissue while minimizing the risk of radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.

The breast board is typically made of a rigid material, such as carbon fiber, that provides the necessary stability. It’s designed to tilt the patients head to the opposite side of the affected breast, creating a slight angle for optimal treatment positioning. The patients arm on the treated side is also supported at shoulder level to further enhance stability and alignment.

By providing support and immobilization, it minimizes the need for the patient to hold a difficult position for an extended period. This can greatly enhance the overall treatment experience and improve patient compliance.

It not only provides immobilization and consistent positioning but also helps enhance patient comfort and treatment accuracy. With advancements in technology, the design and functionality of breast boards continue to evolve, further improving patient outcomes and treatment efficacy.

The inclination of the breast board serves a crucial purpose in radiation therapy. By aligning the patient’s sternum with the horizontal plane, it eliminates collimator angulation on tangential fields and minimizes the irradiated lung volume in the cranio-caudal direction. Such positioning optimizations are essential for ensuring accurate and targeted treatment during breast cancer radiation therapy.

Why Is the Breast Board Inclined?

The breast board angle is selected based on several factors to ensure optimal treatment delivery and patient comfort. Firstly, the inclination of the breast board aims to align the patients sternum with the horizontal plane. This positioning helps eliminate the need for collimator angulation on tangential fields during radiation therapy.

By aligning the sternum with the horizontal plane, collimator angulation can be avoided, reducing treatment setup complexity and potential errors. This also streamlines the treatment process, saving time for both the patient and the medical staff involved in radiation therapy.

Moreover, the breast board angle plays a crucial role in reducing the irradiated lung volume in the cranio-caudal direction. By inclining the board, the breast tissue is pulled away from the chest wall, allowing for improved access and decreased exposure to the underlying lung tissues. This helps to minimize the potential side effects of radiation therapy on the lungs, such as radiation pneumonitis.

This stability is essential to minimize patient movement during the treatment sessions, ensuring accurate and consistent delivery of radiation.

The Importance of Patient Comfort During Radiation Therapy

Ensuring patient comfort is crucial in radiation therapy to provide a positive experience and encourage treatment adherence. Patients may experience physical discomfort, such as pain or claustrophobia, during radiation sessions. Addressing these concerns improves patient well-being, cooperation, and treatment outcomes. Consequently, prioritizing patient comfort is essential for successful radiation therapy.


In conclusion, the key differences between a wing board and a breast board lie in their specific purposes and functionalities in the field of medical positioning. Understanding these distinctions allows medical professionals to select the most suitable device tailored to the requirements of their treatment plan, ensuring optimal outcomes and patient safety.

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