Conformal and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) plans for 9 patients were compared based on characterization of plan quality and effects on the oncology department. These clinical cases, treated originally with conformal radiotherapy (CRT), required extraordinary effort to produce conformal treatment plans using nonmodulated, shaped noncoplanar fields with multileaf collimators (MLCs). IMRT plans created for comparison included rotational treatments with slit collimator, and fixed-field MLC treatments using equispaced coplanar, and noncoplanar fields. Plans were compared based upon target coverage, target conformality, dose homogeneity, monitor units (MU), user-interactive planning time, and treatment delivery time. The results were subjected to a statistical analysis. IMRT increased target coverage an average of 36% and conformality by 10%. Where dose escalation was a goal, IMRT increased mean dose by 4-6 Gy and target coverage by 19% with the same degree of conformality. Rotational IMRT was slightly superior to fixed-field IMRT. All IMRT techniques increased integral dose and target dose heterogeneity. IMRT planning times were significantly less, whereas MU increased significantly; estimated delivery times were similar. IMRT techniques increase dose and target coverage while continuing to spare organs-at-risk, and can be delivered in a time frame comparable to other sophisticated techniques.