Purpose: To investigate a protocol which efficiently localizes TomoTherapy patients with a scout imaging (topogram) mode that can be used with or instead of 3D megavoltage computed tomography (MVCT) imaging. Methods: The process presented here is twofold: (a) The acquisition of the topogram using the TomoTherapy MV imaging system and (b) the generation of a digitally reconstructed topogram (DRT) derived from a standard kV CT simulation data set. The unique geometric characteristics of the current TomoTherapy imaging system were explored both theoretically and by acquiring topograms of anthropomorphic phantoms and comparing these images to DRT images. The performance of the MV topogram imaging system in terms of image quality, dose incurred to the patient, and acquisition time was investigated using ionization chamber and radiographic film measurements. Results: The time required to acquire a clinically usable topogram, limited by the maximum couch speed of 4.0 cm s-1, was 12.5 s for a 50 cm long field. The patient dose was less than 1% of that delivered by a helical MVCT scan. Further refinements within the current TomoTherapy system, most notably decreasing the imaging beam repetition rate during MV topogram acquisition, would further reduce the topogram dose to less than 25 μGy per scan without compromising image quality. Conclusions: Topogram localization on TomoTherapy is a fast and low-dose alternative to 3D MVCT localization. A protocol designed that exclusively utilized MV topograms would result in a 30-fold reduction in imaging time and a 100-fold reduction in dose from localization scans using the current TomoTherapy workflow.
- image-guided radiation therapy
- patient localization