Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What can I use if I get foam on my skin?

A. While visiting a teaching center, School of Allied Health, Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I learned a new way to remove Alpha Cradle brand foam, once it has been mixed together. The trick is to use a simple item that can be found in most therapy rooms. Apply a small amount of K-Y Jelly to the foam on your skin, or hardened surface or paper towel. It will help removing the mixture from hair as well. I was a non-believer, until I spilled a bit of foam on my hand, tried the KY Jelly, and found that it cleaned it right up! I just used a few paper towels to wipe it off, expecting my hand to be sticky and having to go wash up. To my amazement, it took it right off and left no sticky residue at all. Thanks to Brent Woodall, (RT)(T), who passed this useful tip to me, and now to all of you in the field who use Alpha Cradle brand foam!

Aren’t vac bags the same as Alpha Cradle forms?

A. Vac bags, the same product as the fad, bean bag chairs, work very differently from Alpha Cradle brand forms. Vac bags work by pulling the air out of a bag that the patient lays on. You must invest in equipment to pull the air out of the bags, and then purchase different sized bags. Once the air is pulled out, it pulls the form away from the patient. You have to keep pushing the form against the patient as the withdrawing air keeps pulling away. The sides are soft and can be easily bent by the patient getting in and out of the bag. The bags are not flat and, therefore, do not sit flat on the treatment couch or index easily to the couch. Facilities wipe off used bags and re-use from patient to patient. Bags can leak air and become useless. If a bag gets the smallest of pinholes, it becomes useless.

Alpha Cradle forms are for superior immobilization. They are not soft positioning aids, but immobilization forms that reposition the patient in the set-up position on a daily basis. A correctly made form will easily support the patient as they get in and out of the form. The forms are flat on the bottom and fit flat on your treatment couch. As each form is a customized anatomical form, the foam rises tightly against the patient and molds to their exact position. The patient therefore does NOT have to hold their position, as the form holds them, immobilizes them, in the desired set-up position. Alpha Cradle forms can be indexed easily with alignment lasers by marking where the lasers hit the cradles. Ports can be easily cut through the forms. You CANNOT do this with a vac bag. Superior immobilization can allow for tighter margins, and lead to more lethal radiation to the tumor, with less potential collateral damage. Alpha Cradle forms are the most comfortable treatment aid for the patient, as today’s complex treatment plans may require more time spent on a cold, flat table.

Q. Are Alpha Cradle Forms Strong?

A. A properly made Alpha Cradle form is strong enough to hold the patient’s weight, as they get in and out of their forms each day. Unlike ineffective vac bags, Alpha Cradle forms will support the patient as they climb in and out of their forms, without expanding or moving. Forms have a flat base and sit flat on your treatment couch. Even though these forms are very strong and durable, the average form weighs less than 5 pounds and is easily moved by the therapist.

Q. Can I purchase the foaming agents in bulk?

A. All of our foaming agents are pre-measured in the exact ratio that you need to make a customized repositioning mold. ALWAYS use the entire contents of bottle #1 into bottle #2. Changing the ratio of bottle #1 to bottle #2 can result in the foam temperature rising enough to burn a patient’s skin, or conversely, may never rise up and harden. We use self-calibrating electronic scales that are accurate to the nearest 1/10th of a gram. Therefore, it is imperative that you always use a complete set of foam. We offer 10 different sizes of foam, and work with medical centers for unique applications. We also offer customized sizes of foam to fit your unique equipment and procedures. Call us if you need a different size of foam for your unique application.

Q. What other uses are there for Alpha Cradle brand products?

A. The Alpha Cradle Mold Maker II, and our customized anatomical devices have been successfully used for RT, X-Ray, PET, CT, MRI, cardiac catheterization, and other diagnostic procedures. Benefits include creating an anatomical mold of the patient that will comfortably immobilize them in the position needed. The molds can be used to place the patient back in the exact same position as they move from one diagnostic modality to another, or to duplicate the set-up for radiation treatments. The molds also contain the patient, immobilizing them, eliminating patient movement throughout the diagnostic or treatment period.

Q. Who should I contact if I have any further questions or comments?

A. Please call 1-800-752-8032 and ask for customer service. If you wish to write in any comments or observations you’ve made, please e-mail them to Jeffrey Kostich, President, Smithers Medical Products at

Q. Why should I use Alpha Cradle brand foaming agents?

A. All polyurethane foams are not the same. Some chemical compounds release potentially hazardous gases, that the therapist is exposed to, again and again, while making body molds. Most commercial compounds are NOT made for use in a medical environment or with patient safety in mind. The heat generated by these compounds can reach several hundred degrees, enough to severely burn a patient.

Only our Alpha Cradle brand foaming agents, made exclusively for use in the field of radiation therapy, offer you published toxicology results from an independent environmental consulting lab. No airborne hazardous vapors were detected with the Alpha Cradle brand foam. You get quality assurance that our foam will rise safely and consistently each time you use it. Our safe, warm, rising foam brings comfort and security to your patients while you make the form. Each time your patients get into their customized repositioning forms, you can count on exact positioning for the treatment period. Safety, comfort, and reliability are just a few of the reasons you’ll want every patient in an Alpha Cradle brand form.