Design and dosimetric considerations of a modified COMS plaque: the reusable "seed-guide" insert

Med Phys. 2005 Aug;32(8):2706-16. doi: 10.1118/1.1993828.


The Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS) developed a standardized set of eye plaques that consist of a 0.5 mm thick bowl-like gold alloy backing with a cylindrical collimating lip. A Silastic seed carrier into which 125I seeds are loaded was designed to fit within the backing. The carrier provides a standardized seed pattern and functions to offset the seeds by 1.0 mm from the concave (front) surface of the carrier. These Silastic carriers have been found to be difficult to load, preclude flash sterilization, and are a source of dosimetric uncertainty because the effective atomic number of Silastic is significantly higher than that of water. The main dosimetric effect of the Silastic carrier is a dose-reduction (compared to homogeneous water) of approximately 10%-15% for 125I radiation. The dose reduction is expected to be even greater for 103Pd radiation. In an attempt to improve upon, yet retain as much of the familiar COMS design as possible, we have developed a thin "seed-guide" insert made of gold alloy. This new insert has cutouts which match the seed pattern of the Silastic carrier, but allows the seeds to be glued directly to the inner surface of the gold backing using either dental acrylic or a cyanoacrylate adhesive. When glued directly to the gold backing the seeds are offset a few tenths of a millimeter further away from the scleral surface compared to using the Silastic carrier. From a dosimetric perspective, the space formerly occupied by the Silastic carrier is now assumed to be water equivalent. Water equivalency is a desirable attribute for this space because it eliminates the dosimetric uncertainties related to the atomic composition of Silastic and thereby facilitates the use of either 125I and/or 103Pd seeds. The caveat is that a new source of dosimetric uncertainty would be introduced were an air bubble to become trapped in this space during or after the surgical insertion. The presence of air in this space is modeled and the dosimetric impact discussed. Another unintended consequence of water equivalency is that some fluorescent x rays emitted from the gold backing can now reach the eye. These very low energy x rays were virtually eliminated by absorption in Silastic. When loaded with 125I seeds the modified plaque appears to produce dose distributions that are almost the same as those of the original COMS plaque and the maximum dosimetric uncertainty introduced by an air bubble is about 2%. Dose distributions calculated for a modified plaque loaded with 103Pd seeds show that dose to healthy ocular structures distal to the tumor apex can be reduced compared to 125I. Clearly, it is faster and easier to glue seeds into the reusable gold seed-guide insert than it is to load the COMS-Silastic carrier.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / instrumentation*
  • Brachytherapy / methods
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Equipment Reuse
  • Eye Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*