Accurate localization of intracavitary brachytherapy applicators from 3D CT imaging studies

F. A. Lerma, J. F. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To present an accurate method to identify the positions and orientations of intracavitary (ICT) brachytherapy applicators imaged in 3D CT scans, in support of Monte Carlo photon-transport simulations, enabling accurate dose modeling in the presence of applicator shielding and interapplicator attenuation, Materials and methods: The method consists of finding the transformation that maximizes the coincidence between the known 3D shapes of each applicator component (colpostats and tandem) with the volume defined by contours of the corresponding surface on each CT slice. We use this technique to localize Fletcher-Suit CT-compatible applicators for three cervix cancer patients using post-implant CT examinations (3 mm slice thickness and separation). Dose distributions in 1-to-1 registration with the underlying CT anatomy are derived from 3D Monte Carlo photon-transport simulations incorporating each applicator's internal geometry (source encapsulation, high-density shields, and applicator body) oriented in relation to the dose matrix according to the measured localization transformations. The precision and accuracy of our localization method are assessed using CT scans, in which the positions and orientations of dense rods and spheres (in a precision- machined phantom) were measured at various orientations relative to the gantry. Results: Using this method, we register 3D Monte Carlo dose calculations directly onto post insertion patient CT studies. Using CT studies of a precisely machined phantom, the absolute accuracy of the method was found to be ±0.2 mm in plane, and ±0.3 mm in the axial direction while its precision was ±0.2 mm in plane, and ±0.2 mm axially. Conclusion: We have developed a novel, and accurate technique to localize intracavitary brachytherapy applicators in 3D CT imaging studies, which supports 3D dose planning involving detailed 3D Monte Carlo dose calculations, modeling source positions, shielding and interapplicator shielding, accurately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Brachytherapy
  • CT
  • Intracavitary
  • Localization
  • Monte Carlo calculations


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