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J Radiol Prot. 2014 Jun;34(2):297-311. doi: 10.1088/0952-4746/34/2/297. Epub 2014 Apr 4.

Dosimetric perturbations of a lead shield for surface and interstitial high-dose-rate brachytherapy.

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Radioprotection Department, La Fe University and Polytechnic Hospital, Valencia E-46026, Spain. Department of Atomic, Molecular and Nuclear Physics, University of Valencia, Burjassot E-46100, Spain.


In surface and interstitial high-dose-rate brachytherapy with either (60)Co, (192)Ir, or (169)Yb sources, some radiosensitive organs near the surface may be exposed to high absorbed doses. This may be reduced by covering the implants with a lead shield on the body surface, which results in dosimetric perturbations. Monte Carlo simulations in Geant4 were performed for the three radionuclides placed at a single dwell position. Four different shield thicknesses (0, 3, 6, and 10 mm) and three different source depths (0, 5, and 10 mm) in water were considered, with the lead shield placed at the phantom surface. Backscatter dose enhancement and transmission data were obtained for the lead shields. Results were corrected to account for a realistic clinical case with multiple dwell positions. The range of the high backscatter dose enhancement in water is 3 mm for (60)Co and 1 mm for both (192)Ir and (169)Yb. Transmission data for (60)Co and (192)Ir are smaller than those reported by Papagiannis et al (2008 Med. Phys. 35 4898-4906) for brachytherapy facility shielding; for (169)Yb, the difference is negligible. In conclusion, the backscatter overdose produced by the lead shield can be avoided by just adding a few millimetres of bolus. Transmission data provided in this work as a function of lead thickness can be used to estimate healthy organ equivalent dose saving. Use of a lead shield is justified.

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