A novel system for commissioning brachytherapy applicators: example of a ring applicator

Gabriel P. Fonseca, Michiel R. Van den Bosch, Robert Voncken, Mark Podesta, Frank Verhaegen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A novel system was developed to improve commissioning and quality assurance of brachytherapy applicators used in high dose rate (HDR). It employs an imaging panel to create reference images and to measure dwell times and dwell positions. As an example: two ring applicators of the same model were evaluated. An applicator was placed on the surface of an imaging panel and a HDR Ir-192 source was positioned in an imaging channel above the panel to generate an image of the applicator, using the gamma photons of the brachytherapy source. The applicator projection image was overlaid with the images acquired by capturing the gamma photons emitted by the source dwelling inside the applicator. We verified 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 and 1.0 cm interdwell distances for different offsets, applicator inclinations and transfer tube curvatures. The data analysis was performed using in-house developed software capable of processing the data in real time, defining catheters and creating movies recording the irradiation procedure. One applicator showed up to 0.3 cm difference from the expected position for a specific dwell position. The problem appeared intermittently. The standard deviations of the remaining dwell positions (40 measurements) were less than 0.05 cm. The second ring applicator had a similar reproducibility with absolute coordinate differences from expected values ranging from -0.10 up to 0.18 cm. The curvature of the transfer tube can lead to differences larger than 0.1 cm whilst the inclination of the applicator showed a negligible effect. The proposed method allows the verification of all steps of the irradiation, providing accurate information about dwell positions and dwell times. It allows the verification of small interdwell positions (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8360-8375
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2017


  • brachytherapy
  • imaging panel
  • time-resolve commissioning
  • HDR

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