Dosimetric influence of seed spacers and end-weld thickness for permanent prostate brachytherapy

Christopher S. Melhus, Justin K. Mikell, Steven J. Frank, Firas Mourtada, Mark J. Rivard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to analyze the dosimetric influence of conventional spacers and a cobalt chloride complex contrast (C4) agent, a novel marker for MRI that can also serve as a seed spacer, adjacent to 103Pd, 125I, and 131Cs sources for permanent prostate brachytherapy. Methods and Materials: Monte Carlo methods for radiation transport were used to estimate the dosimetric influence of brachytherapy end-weld thicknesses and spacers near the three sources. Single-source assessments and volumetric conditions simulating prior patient treatments were computed. Volume-dose distributions were imported to a treatment planning system for dose-volume histogram analyses. Results: Single-source assessment revealed that brachytherapy spacers primarily attenuated the dose distribution along the source long axis. The magnitude of the attenuation at 1cm on the long axis ranged from -10% to -5% for conventional spacers and approximately -2% for C4 spacers, with the largest attenuation for 103Pd. Spacer perturbation of dose distributions was less than manufacturing tolerances for brachytherapy sources as gleaned by an analysis of end-weld thicknesses. Volumetric Monte Carlo assessment demonstrated that TG-43 techniques overestimated calculated doses by approximately 2%. Specific dose-volume histogram metrics for prostate implants were not perturbed by inclusion of conventional or C4 spacers in clinical models. Conclusions: Dosimetric perturbations of single-seed dose distributions by brachytherapy spacers exceeded 10% along the source long axes adjacent to the spacers. However, no dosimetric impact on volumetric parameters was noted for brachytherapy spacers adjacent to 103Pd, 125I, or 131Cs sources in the context of permanent prostate brachytherapy implants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-310
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Dose perturbation
  • Monte Carlo
  • Prostate brachytherapy
  • Seed spacer


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