Dosimetry of Gamma Knife and linac-based radiosurgery using radiochromic and diode detectors

Anna Somigliana, Giovanni Mauro Cattaneo, Claudio Fiorino, Silvana Borelli, Antonella Del Vecchio, Giancarlo Zonca, Emanuele Pignoli, Gianfranco Loi, Riccardo Calandrino, Renato Marchesini

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In stereotactic radiosurgery the choice of appropriate detectors, whether for absolute or relative, dosimetry, is very important due to the steep dose gradient and the incomplete lateral electronic equilibrium. For both linac-based and Leksell Gamma Knife radiosurgery units, we tested the use of calibrated radiochromic film to measure absolute doses and relative dose distributions. In addition a small diode was used to estimate the relative output factors. The data obtained using radiochromic and diode detectors were compared with measurements performed with other conventional methods of dosimetry, with calculated values by treatment planning systems and with data prestored in the treatment planning system supplied by the Leksell Gamma Knife (LGK) vendor. Two stereotactic radiosurgery techniques were considered: Leksell Gamma Knife (using γ-rays from 60Co) and linac- based radiosurgery (LR) (6 MV x-rays). Different detectors were used for both relative and absolute dosimetry: relative output factors (OFs) were estimated by using radiochromic and radiographic films and a small diode; relative dose distributions in the axial and coronal planes of a spherical polystyrene phantom were measured using radiochromic film and calculated by two different treatment planning systems (TPSs). The absolute dose at the sphere centre was measured by radiochromic film and a small ionization chamber. An accurate selection of radiochromic film was made: samples of unexposed film showing a percentage standard deviation of less than 3% were used for relative dose profiles, and for absolute dose and OF evaluations this value was reduced to 1.5%. Moreover a proper calibration curve was made for each set of measurements. With regard to absolute doses, the results obtained with the ionization chamber are in good correlation with radiochromic film-generated data, for both LGK and LR, showing a dose difference of less than 1%. The output factor evaluations, performed using different methods, are in good agreement with a maximum difference of 1.5% for all field sizes considered (LGK and LR) except the 4 mm helmet used in the LGK unit. In this case, differences exist between diode and radiochromic film measurements and both detectors show data values larger than the prestored OF value of 0.80. Dose profiles measured by radiochromic film and calculated are in excellent agreement for both LGK and LR with a maximum deviation of less than 1.0 mm, when full widths of the dose profiles at 20%, 50%, 80% levels are considered. When external photon beams are used in stereotactic radiosurgery, the 'well selected' radiochromic films are very accurate detectors both for relative and absolute dosimetry. The experimental results, obtained using both radiochromic and diode detectors, show that the 4 mm helmet relative output factor could be underestimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-897
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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