Real-time, ray casting-based scatter dose estimation for c-arm x-ray system

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Dosimetric control of staff exposure during interventional procedures under fluoroscopy is of high relevance. In this paper, a novel ray casting approximation of radiation transport is presented and the potential and limitation vs. a full Monte Carlo transport and dose measurements are discussed.


The x-ray source of a Siemens Axiom Artix C-arm is modeled by a virtual source model using single Gaussian-shaped source. A Geant4-based Monte Carlo simulation determines the radiation transport from the source to compute scatter from the patient, the table, the ceiling and the floor. A phase space around these scatterers stores all photon information. Only those photons are traced that hit a surface of phantom that represents medical staff in the treatment room, no indirect scattering is considered; and a complete dose deposition on the surface is calculated. To evaluate the accuracy of the approximation, both experimental measurements using Thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) and a Geant4-based Monte Carlo simulation of dose depositing for different tube angulations of the C-arm from cranial-caudal angle 0° and from LAO (Left Anterior Oblique) 0°-90° are realized. Since the measurements were performed on both sides of the table, using the symmetry of the setup, RAO (Right Anterior Oblique) measurements were not necessary.


The Geant4-Monte Carlo simulation agreed within 3% with the measured data, which is within the accuracy of measurement and simulation. The ray casting approximation has been compared to TLD measurements and the achieved percentage difference was −7% for data from tube angulations 45°-90° and −29% from tube angulations 0°-45° on the side of the x-ray source, whereas on the opposite side of the x-ray source, the difference was −83.8% and −75%, respectively. Ray casting approximation for only LAO 90° was compared to a Monte Carlo simulation, where the percentage differences were between 0.5–3% on the side of the x-ray source where the highest dose usually detected was mainly from primary scattering (photons), whereas percentage differences between 2.8–20% are found on the side opposite to the x-ray source, where the lowest doses were detected. Dose calculation time of our approach was 0.85 seconds.


The proposed approach yields a fast scatter dose estimation where we could run the Monte Carlo simulation only once for each x-ray tube angulation to get the Phase Space Files (PSF) for being used later by our ray casting approach to calculate the dose from only photons which will hit an movable elliptical cylinder shaped phantom and getting an output file for the positions of those hits to be used for visualizing the scatter dose propagation on the phantom surface. With dose calculation times of less than one second, we are saving much time compared to using a Monte Carlo simulation instead. With our approach, larger deviations occur only in regions with very low doses, whereas it provides a high precision in high-dose regions.

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