SU-E-T-232: Custom High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy Surface Mold Applicators: The Importance Source to Skin Distance




Surface mold applicators can be customized to fit irregular skin surfaces that are difficult to treat with other radiation therapy techniques. Optimal design of customized HDR skin brachytherapy is not well-established. We evaluated the impact of applicator thickness (source to skin distance) on target dosimetry.


27 patients had 34 treated sites: scalp 4, face 13, extremity 13, and torso 4. Custom applicators were constructed from 5–15 mm thick thermoplastic bolus molded over the skin lesion. A planar array of plastic brachytherapy catheters spaced 5–10 mm apart was affixed to the bolus. CT simulation was used to contour the target volume and to determine the prescription depth. Inverse planning simulated annealing followed by graphical optimization was used to plan and deliver 40–56 Gy in 8–16 fractions. Target coverage parameters (D90, Dmean, and V100) and dose uniformity (V110–200, D0.1cc, D1cc, and D2cc) were studied according to target depth (<5mm vs. ≥5mm) and applicator thickness (5–10mm vs. ≥10mm).


The average prescription depth was 4.2±1.5mm. The average bolus thickness was 9.2±2.4mm. The median CTV volume was 10.0 cc (0.2–212.4 cc). Similar target coverage was achieved with prescription depths of <5mm and ≥5mm (Dmean = 113.8% vs. 112.4% and D90 = 100.2% vs. 98.3%). The <5mm prescription depth plans were more uniform (D0.1cc = 131.8% vs. 151.8%). Bolus thickness <10mm vs. ≥10mm plans also had similar target coverage (Dmean = 118.2% vs. 110.7% and D90 = 100.1% vs. 99.0%). Applicators ≥10mm thick, however, provide more uniform target dosimetry (D0.1cc = 146.9% vs. 139.5%).


Prescription depth is based upon the thickness of the lesion and upon the clinical needs of the patient. Applicators ≥10mm thick provide more dose uniformity than 5–10mm thick applicators. Applicator thickness is an important variable that should be considered during treatment planning to achieve optimal dose uniformity.