Changes in radiation dose with variations in human anatomy: larger and smaller normal-stature adults

J Nucl Med. 2010 May;51(5):806-11. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.109.073007. Epub 2010 Apr 15.


A systematic evaluation has been performed to study how specific absorbed fractions (SAFs) vary with changes in adult body size, for persons of different size but normal body stature.

Methods: A review of the literature was performed to evaluate how individual organ sizes vary with changes in total body weight of normal-stature individuals. On the basis of this literature review, changes were made to our easily deformable reference adult male and female total-body models. Monte Carlo simulations of radiation transport were performed; SAFs for photons were generated for 10th, 25th, 75th, and 90th percentile adults; and comparisons were made to the reference (50th) percentile SAF values.

Results: Differences in SAFs for organs irradiating themselves were between 0.5% and 1.0%/kg difference in body weight, from 15% to 30% overall, for organs within the trunk. Differences in SAFs for organs outside the trunk were not greater than the uncertainties in the data and will not be important enough to change calculated doses. For organs irradiating other organs within the trunk, differences were significant, between 0.3% and 1.1%/kg, or about 8%-33% overall.

Conclusion: The differences are interesting and can be used to estimate how different patients' dosimetry might vary from values reported in standard dose tables.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Radiopharmaceuticals