Northern Centre for Cancer Care

Mould Room Appointment - Having a thermoplastic immobilisation device (head shell) made

As part of the preparation for radiotherapy, you may visit the mould room. This page explains more about this visit and what is involved.

Having a thermoplastic immobilisation device (head shell) made.

Why do I need to attend the Mould Room?

While you are having your radiotherapy it is important that you lie in the same position each time you have treatment and keep your head and neck as still as possible. To help you do this, you will need to lie with your head in a specially made thermoplastic head shell during your treatment.

It will also be necessary for the shell to be worn during any scans or other pretreatment planning sessions required. During the planning procedure marks will be placed on the shell to enable the radiographers to set up your treatment accurately. This means you should not require any marks on your skin. The moulding procedure is not painful and normally takes around five minutes to complete.

Men with thick facial hair should shave or short trim facial hair before attending for this procedure.

How is the headrest and shell made?

  • Before starting the procedure the mould room clinical technologists who manufacture your headrest and thermoplastic treatment head shell will explain in detail how the shell is made. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
  • Firstly, they will ensure that you are lying comfortably on the bed and will position your head on a carefully selected headrest appropriate for your treatment.
  • A thermoplastic is a plastic material that softens when heated. The plastic we use is a light weight perforated sheet that is 2mm thick and softens in hot water.
  • In order to make the mask, the flat sheet of thermoplastic is softened in hot water, dried and allowed to cool to a comfortable temperature, then stretched and moulded to fit your face and neck.

The thermoplastic sheet and mask are perforated to allow you to breath and your mouth and nostrils will be left uncovered whilst the mask is being made. Holes around the nose and mouth are provided in the finished shell to allow comfortable breathing.

Thermoplastic head shell

Thermoplastic head and neck shell

More Information

Useful Contacts

Northern Centre for Cancer Care Macmillan Information and Support Centre, 0191 2138611
Opening hours Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm

Macmillan Cancer Relief, Head office 020 7840 7840, freephone 0808 800 1234,

Leaflet to Download

Having a thermoplastic immobilisation device (head shell) made.pdf

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