Peripheral dose distributions for a linear accelerator equipped with a secondary multileaf collimator and universal wedge.

Sasa Mutic, Jacqueline Esthappan, Eric E. Klein

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36 Scopus citations


The American Association of Physicists in Medicine Task Group 36 (AAPM TG-36) data can be used to estimate peripheral dose (PD) distributions outside the primary radiation field. However, the report data does not apply to linear accelerators equipped with a multileaf collimator (MLC) and universal wedge (UW). Tertiary multileaf collimators have been shown to significantly affect PD distributions and TG-36 reported data. Measurements were performed to evaluate PD distributions for a linear accelerator equipped with a secondary MLC, backup diaphragms, and UW. This data can be used to compliment the TG-36 report for estimation of doses to critical structures outside primary radiation fields. For the evaluated linear accelerator, an MLC is incorporated in the upper secondary collimator jaws. Backup shielding diaphragms are located underneath the MLC. At the nominal collimator position, the MLC and the backup diaphragm provide collimation primarily in the transverse direction. Conventional, solid tungsten-alloy jaws, located underneath the backup diaphragms, provide secondary collimation in the longitudinal direction. The universal wedge provides dose modulation in the direction of the conventional jaws. Measurements were made with an ionization chamber inserted into a 20x40x120 cm(3) water-equivalent plastic phantom with the secondary collimator and MLC settings of 5x5, 10x10, 15x15, and 25x25 cm(2) with and without UW. Data was acquired along the machine's longitudinal axis for 6, 10, and 18 MV photons. Peripheral dose distributions were measured with the collimator rotated to 0 degrees and 270 degrees for open field measurements and to 0 degrees, 180 degrees, and 270 degrees for wedged fields (IEC 1217). This allowed evaluation of peripheral dose distributions as a function of collimator rotation. Wedged fields were normalized to deliver the same dose at the depth of maximum dose on the central axis as open fields. The measured PD distributions were generally comparable to data reported by TG-36. At distances close to the field edge (less than 30 or 40 cm), the measured PD distributions were lower when the measurement point was shielded by solid jaws than with MLC and backup diaphragm. At longer distances, this trend reversed for all energies and evaluated field sizes. However, the difference in PD distribution with collimator rotation was not large enough to warrant strategic positioning of the collimator to reduce dose to critical structures outside the primary radiation field. Because internal scatter dominates close to the field edge, wedged PD distributions were comparable to open field doses at distances closer than 30 cm. However, at distances larger than 30 cm from the field edge, wedged PD distributions were significantly grater than those for open fields due to increased contribution of leakage radiation. Increased leakage radiation is due to the increase in wedged field monitor units, which is related to a small wedge factor (0.27 to 0.29).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-309
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics / American College of Medical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


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