PURPOSE: Authors designed a customized Small Bowel Displacement System (SBDS) to displace the small bowel from the pelvic radiation fields and minimize treatment-related bowel morbidities. METHODS AND MATERIALS: From August 1995 to May 1996, 55 consecutive patients who received pelvic radiation therapy with the SBDS were included in this study. The SBDS consists of a customized styrofoam compression device which can displace the small bowel from the radiation fields and an individualized immobilization abdominal board for easy daily setup in prone position. After opacifying the small bowel with Barium , the patients were laid prone and posterior-anterior (PA) and lateral (LAT) simulation films were taken with and without the SBDS. The areas of the small bowel included in the radiation fields with and without the SBDS were compared. RESULTS: Using the SBDS, the mean small bowel area was reduced by 59% on PA and 51% on LAT films (P=0.0001). In six patients (6/55, 11%), it was possible that no small bowel was included within the treatment fields. The mean upward displacement of the most caudal small bowel was 4.8 cm using the SBDS. Only 15% (8/55) of patients treated with the SBDS manifested diarrhea requiring medication. CONCLUSION: The SBDS is a novel method that can be used to displace the small bowel away from the treatment portal effectively and reduce the radiation therapy morbidities. Compliance with setup is excellent when the SBDS is used.