Dosimetric effects of an air cavity for the SAVI™ partial breast irradiation applicator

Susan L. Richardson, Ramiro Pino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the dosimetric effect of the air inside the SAVI™ partial breast irradiation device. Methods: The authors have investigated how the air inside the SAVI™ partial breast irradiation device changes the delivered dose from the homogeneously calculated dose. Measurements were made with the device filled with air and water to allow comparison to a homogenous dose calculation done by the treatment planning system. Measurements were made with an ion chamber, TLDs, and film. Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of the experiment were done using the EGSnrc suite. The MC model was validated by comparing the water-filled calculations to those from a commercial treatment planning system. Results: The magnitude of the dosimetric effect depends on the size of the cavity, the arrangement of sources, and the relative dwell times. For a simple case using only the central catheter of the largest device, MC results indicate that the dose at the prescription point 1 cm away from the air-water boundary is about 9% higher than the homogeneous calculation. Independent measurements in a water phantom with a similar air cavity gave comparable results. MC simulation of a realistic multidwell position plan showed discrepancies of about 5% on average at the prescription point for the largest device. Conclusions: The dosimetric effect of the air cavity is in the range of 3%-9%. Unless a heterogeneous dose calculation algorithm is used, users should be aware of the possibility of small treatment planning dose errors for this device and make modifications to the treatment delivery, if necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3919-3926
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • brachytherapy
  • heterogeneity
  • Monte Carlo
  • partial breast irradiation
  • SAVI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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