Send to

Choose Destination
Med Phys. 2012 Jul;39(7):4339-46. doi: 10.1118/1.4728226.

NPIP: A skew line needle configuration optimization system for HDR brachytherapy.

Author information

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.



In this study, the authors introduce skew line needle configurations for high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy and needle planning by integer program (NPIP), a computational method for generating these configurations. NPIP generates needle configurations that are specific to the anatomy of the patient, avoid critical structures near the penile bulb and other healthy structures, and avoid needle collisions inside the body.


NPIP consisted of three major components: a method for generating a set of candidate needles, a needle selection component that chose a candidate needle subset to be inserted, and a dose planner for verifying that the final needle configuration could meet dose objectives. NPIP was used to compute needle configurations for prostate cancer data sets from patients previously treated at our clinic. NPIP took two user-parameters: a number of candidate needles, and needle coverage radius, δ. The candidate needle set consisted of 5000 needles, and a range of δ values was used to compute different needle configurations for each patient. Dose plans were computed for each needle configuration. The number of needles generated and dosimetry were analyzed and compared to the physician implant.


NPIP computed at least one needle configuration for every patient that met dose objectives, avoided healthy structures and needle collisions, and used as many or fewer needles than standard practice. These needle configurations corresponded to a narrow range of δ values, which could be used as default values if this system is used in practice. The average end-to-end runtime for this implementation of NPIP was 286 s, but there was a wide variation from case to case.


The authors have shown that NPIP can automatically generate skew line needle configurations with the aforementioned properties, and that given the correct input parameters, NPIP can generate needle configurations which meet dose objectives and use as many or fewer needles than the current HDR brachytherapy workflow. Combined with robot assisted brachytherapy, this system has the potential to reduce side effects associated with treatment. A physical trial should be done to test the implant feasibility of NPIP needle configurations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center