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Program Information

TG176: Dosimetric Effects of Couch Tops and Immobilization Devices

A Olch

A Olch*, Childrens Hospital of LA, Los Angeles, CA


TU-D-9A-1 Tuesday 11:15AM - 12:15PM Room: 9A

The dosimetric impact from devices external to the patient is a complex combination of increased skin dose, reduced tumor dose, and altered dose distribution. Although small monitor unit or dose corrections are routinely made for blocking trays, ion chamber correction factors, or tissue inhomogeneities, the dose perturbation of the treatment couch top or immobilization devices are often overlooked. These devices also increase surface dose, an effect which is also often ignored or underestimated. These concerns have grown recently due to the increased use of monolithic carbon fiber couch tops which are optimal for imaging for patient position verification but cause attenuation and increased surface dose compared to the “tennis racket” style couch top they often replace. Also, arc delivery techniques have replaced stationary gantry techniques which cause a greater fraction of the dose to be delivered from posterior angles. A host of immobilization devices are available and used to increase patient positioning reproducibility, and these also have attenuation and skin dose implications which are often ignored. This report of Task Group 176 serves to present a survey of published data that illustrates the magnitude of the dosimetric effects of a wide range of devices external to the patient. The report also provides methods for modeling couch tops in treatment planning systems so the physicist can accurately compute the dosimetric effects for indexed patient treatments. Both photon and proton beams are considered. A discussion on avoidance of high density structures during beam planning is also provided. An important aspect of this report are the recommendations we make to clinical physicists, treatment planning system vendors, and device vendors on how to make measurements of skin dose and attenuation, how to report these values, and for the vendors, an appeal is made to work together to provide accurate couch top models in planning systems.

Learning Objectives:
1. What are the dosimetric effects of couch tops
2. What are the dosimetric effects of immobilization devices
3. How can one model couch tops in the treatment planning system
4. How can one measure attenuation and surface dose changes due to external devices


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