Beta-particle dosimetry of the trabecular skeleton using Monte Carlo transport within 3D digital images

Med Phys. 2001 Jul;28(7):1505-18. doi: 10.1118/1.1380212.


Presently, skeletal dosimetry models utilized in clinical medicine simulate electron path lengths through skeletal regions based upon distributions of linear chords measured across bone trabeculae and marrow cavities. In this work, a human thoracic vertebra has been imaged via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy yielding a three-dimensional voxelized representation of this skeletal site. The image was then coupled to the radiation transport code EGS4 allowing for 3D tracing of electron paths within its true 3D structure. The macroscopic boundaries of the trabecular regions, as well as the cortex of cortical bone surrounding the bone site, were explicitly considered in the voxelized transport model. For the case of a thoracic vertebra, energy escape to the cortical bone became significant at source energies exceeding approximately 2 MeV. Chord-length distributions were acquired from the same NMR image, and subsequently used as input for a chord-based dosimetry model. Differences were observed in the absorbed fractions given by the chord-based model and the voxel transport model, suggesting that some of the input chord distributions for the chord-based models may not be accurate. Finally, this work shows that skeletal mass estimates can be made from the same NMR image in which particle transport is performed. This feature allows one to determine a skeletal S-value using absorbed fraction and mass data taken from the same anatomical tissue sample. The techniques developed in this work may be applied to a variety of skeletal sites, thus allowing for the development of skeletal dosimetry models at all skeletal sites for both males and females and as a function of subject age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Radiography
  • Radiometry / instrumentation*
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Software
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / pathology*