SU-G-201-16: Thermal Imaging in Source Visualization and Radioactivity Measurement for High Dose Rate Brachytherapy




High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy poses a special challenge to radiation safety and quality assurance (QA) due to its high radioactivity, and it is thus critical to verify the HDR source location and its radioactive strength. This study demonstrates a new method for measuring HDR source location and radioactivity utilizing thermal imaging. A potential application would relate to HDR QA and safety improvement.


Heating effects by an HDR source were studied using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Thermal cameras were used to visualize an HDR source inside a plastic applicator made of polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF). Using different source dwell times, correlations between the HDR source strength and heating effects were studied, thus establishing potential daily QA criteria using thermal imaging


For an Ir1?2 source with a radioactivity of 10 Ci, the decay-induced heating power inside the source is ∼13.3 mW. After the HDR source was extended into the PVDF applicator and reached thermal equilibrium, thermal imaging visualized the temperature gradient of 10 K/cm along the PVDF applicator surface, which agreed with FEA modeling. For Ir192 source activities ranging from 4.20–10.20 Ci, thermal imaging could verify source activity with an accuracy of 6.3% with a dwell time of 10 sec, and an accuracy of 2.5 % with 100 sec.


Thermal imaging is a feasible tool to visualize HDR source dwell positions and verify source integrity. Patient safety and treatment quality will be improved by integrating thermal measurements into HDR QA procedures.