Dosimetric verification of helical tomotherapy for total scalp irradiation

Nicholas Hardcastle, Emilie Soisson, Peter Metcalfe, Anatoly B. Rosenfeld, Wolfgang A. Tomé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Total scalp irradiation is a treatment technique used for a variety of superficial malignancies. Helical tomotherapy is an effective technique used for total scalp irradiation. Recent published work has shown the TomoTherapy planning system to overestimate the superficial dose. In this study, the superficial doses for a helical tomotherapy total scalp irradiation have been measured on an anthropomorphic phantom using radiochromic and radiographic film as well as a new skin dosimeter, the MOSkin. The superficial dose was found to be accurately calculated by the TomoTherapy planning system. This is in contrast to recent reports, probably due to a combination of the smaller dose grid resolution used in planning and this particular treatment primarily consisting of beamlets tangential to the scalp. The superficial dose was found to increase from 33.6 to 41.2 Gy and 36.0 to 42.0 Gy over the first 2 mm depth in the phantom in selected regions of the PTV, measured with radiochromic film. The prescription dose was 40 Gy. The superficial dose was at the prescription dose or higher in some regions due to the bolus effect of the thermoplastic head mask and the head rest used to aid treatment setup. It is suggested that to achieve the prescription dose at the surface (≤2 mm depth) bolus or a custom thermoplastic helmet is used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5061-5068
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Radiochromic film
  • Superficial dose
  • TomoTherapy
  • Total scalp irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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