Normalized conceptus doses for abdominal radiographic examinations calculated using a Monte Carlo technique

Med Phys. 2002 Nov;29(11):2641-8. doi: 10.1118/1.1517292.


The aim of the present study was to develop a reliable method for estimating conceptus radiation doses resulting from abdominal radiographic examinations for all trimesters of pregnancy. The method is based on normalized conceptus doses estimated using Monte Carlo modeling. The Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) radiation transport code was employed in the current study. The validity of the MCNP computational approach was verified by comparison with dose data obtained in anthropomorphic phantoms simulating pregnancy at the three trimesters of gestation using thermoluminescence dosimetry (TLD). The results consist of radiation doses normalized to air kerma so that conceptus dose from any technique and x-ray unit used for abdominal radiography can be easily calculated. Normalized conceptus doses are presented for the first, second, and third trimesters of gestation for various kVp and total beam filtration values. Data apply to radiographic systems equipped with high frequency or 3 phase 12 pulse generators. A very good agreement was observed between the normalized conceptus doses estimated by TLD measurements and the MCNP simulation for all periods of gestation (maximum difference 8.1%). The results of MCNP procedures were compared to published data obtained by TLD measurements. Normalized conceptus dose values agree well, with most differences being lower than 10%. The normalized doses obtained in the current study are dependent on field size. However, for small changes in the size of the x-ray field, the change in normalized doses is not considerable. Accurate estimation of conceptus doses due to abdominal conventional x-ray examinations can be made using the dose data provided in the current study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fetus / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Models, Biological*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Pregnancy*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiography, Abdominal*
  • Radiometry / instrumentation
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thermoluminescent Dosimetry / methods