Metal implants which saturate the CT number scale may require dosimetrist and physicist involvement to manually contour and assign an appropriate value to the metal for accurate dose calculation. This study investigated dose calculation based directly on extended CT scale images for different metals and geometries. The aim was to evaluate extended CT accuracy as a suitable alternative to standard CT methods in the presence of high-Z materials and artifacts, despite the reduced HU resolution of extended CT. Gafchromic film measurements were made for comparison to calculated doses. The method of direct dose calculation on extended CT scale was compared to our institution's standard method of manually contouring and assigning metal values on saturated CT images for each of the metal samples. Clinical patient plans with metal implants were investigated and DVHs were compared between standard CT and extended CT dose calculations. Dose calculations showed agreement within 2% between the two methods of metal characterization and the film measurement in the case of the strongest metal attenuator, cobalt-chromium. In the clinical treatment plans, the greatest dose discrepancy between the two methods was 1.2%. This study suggests that direct dose calculation on an extended scale CT image in the presence of metal implants can produce accurate clinically viable treatment plans, thereby improving efficiency of clinical workflow and eliminating a potential source of human error by manual CT number assignment.
PACS number(s): 87.55.dk