Measurement and modeling of the effect of support arm backscatter on dosimetry with a Varian EPID

Pejman Rowshanfarzad, Boyd M.C. McCurdy, Mahsheed Sabet, Christopher Lee, Daryl J. O'Connor, Peter B. Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Amorphous silicon EPIDs have been used for planar dose verification in IMRT treatments for many years. The support arm used to attach some types of EPIDs to linear accelerators can introduce inaccuracies to dosimetry measurements due to the presence of metallic parts in their structures. It is demonstrated that this uncertainty may be as large as ∼6% of maximum image signal for large fields. In this study, a method has been described to quantify, model and correct for the effect of backscattered radiation from the EPID support arm (E-Arm type, Varian Medical Systems). Methods: Measurements of a support arm backscatter kernel were made using several 1×1 cm2 6 MV pencil beam irradiations at a sample of positions over the sensitive area of the EPID in standard clinical setup and repeated with the EPID removed from the support arm but at the same positions. A curve-fit to the subtraction of EPID response obtained on and off the arm was used to define the backscatter kernel. The measured kernel was compared with a backscatter kernel obtained by Monte Carlo simulations with EGS/BEAM code. A backscatter dose prediction using the measured backscatter kernel was added to an existing EPID dose prediction model. The improvement in the agreement of the modified model predictions with EPID measurements for a number of open fields and IMRT beams were investigated by comparison to the original model results. Results: Considering all functions tested to find the best functional fit to the data points, a broad Gaussian curve proved to be the optimum fit to the backscatter data. The best fit through the Monte Carlo simulated backscatter kernel was also found to be a Gaussian curve. The maximum decrease in normalized root mean squared deviation of the measured and modeled EPID image profiles for open fields was 13.7% for a 15×15 cm2 field with no decrease observed for a 3×3 cm2 (the smallest) field as it was not affected by the arm backscatter. Gamma evaluation (2%, 2 mm criteria) showed the improvement in agreement between the model and measurement results when the backscatter was incorporated. The average increase in Gamma pass rate was 2% for head and neck and 1.3% for prostate IMRT fields investigated in this study. Conclusions: The application of the backscatter kernel determined in this study improved the accuracy of dosimetry using a Varian EPID with E-arm for open fields of different sizes: Eight head and neck and seven prostate IMRT fields. Further improvement in the agreement between the model predictions and EPID measurements requires more sophisticated modeling of the backscatter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2269-2278
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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