Dosimetric measurements of Onyx embolization material for stereotactic radiosurgery

Med Phys. 2012 Nov;39(11):6672-81. doi: 10.1118/1.4757918.


Purpose: Arteriovenous malformations are often treated with a combination of embolization and stereotactic radiosurgery. Concern has been expressed in the past regarding the dosimetric properties of materials used in embolization and the effects that the introduction of these materials into the brain may have on the quality of the radiosurgery plan. To quantify these effects, the authors have taken large volumes of Onyx 34 and Onyx 18 (ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer doped with tantalum) and measured the attenuation and interface effects of these embolization materials.

Methods: The manufacturer provided large cured volumes (∼28 cc) of both Onyx materials. These samples were 8.5 cm in diameter with a nominal thickness of 5 mm. The samples were placed on a block tray above a stack of solid water with an Attix chamber at a depth of 5 cm within the stack. The Attix chamber was used to measure the attenuation. These measurements were made for both 6 and 16 MV beams. Placing the sample directly on the solid water stack and varying the thickness of solid water between the sample and the Attix chamber measured the interface effects. The computed tomography (CT) numbers for bulk material were measured in a phantom using a wide bore CT scanner.

Results: The transmission through the Onyx materials relative to solid water was approximately 98% and 97% for 16 and 6 MV beams, respectively. The interface effect shows an enhancement of approximately 2% and 1% downstream for 16 and 6 MV beams. CT numbers of approximately 2600-3000 were measured for both materials, which corresponded to an apparent relative electron density (RED) ρ(e) (w) to water of approximately 2.7-2.9 if calculated from the commissioning data of the CT scanner.

Conclusions: We performed direct measurements of attenuation and interface effects of Onyx 34 and Onyx 18 embolization materials with large samples. The introduction of embolization materials affects the dose distribution of a MV therapeutic beam, but should be of negligible consequence for effective thicknesses of less than 8 mm. The measured interface effects are also small, particularly at 6 MV. Large areas of high-density artifacts and low-density artifacts can cause errors in dose calculations and need to be identified and resolved during planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Radiosurgery / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed