Revisiting fetal dose during radiation therapy: Evaluating treatment techniques and a custom shield

Amir M. Owrangi, Donald A. Roberts, Elizabeth L. Covington, James A. Hayman, Kathryn M. Masi, Choonik Lee, Jean M. Moran, Joann I. Prisciandaroa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


To create a comprehensive dataset of peripheral dose (PD) measurements from a new generation of linear accelerators with and without the presence of a newly designed fetal shield, PD measurements were performed to evaluate the effects of depth, field size, distance from the field edge, collimator angle, and beam modifiers for common treatment protocols and modalities. A custom fetal lead shield was designed and made for our department that allows external beam treatments from multiple angles while minimizing the need to adjust the shield during patient treatments. PD measurements were acquired for a comprehensive series of static fields on a stack of Solid Water. Additionally, PDs from various clinically relevant treatment scenarios for pregnant patients were measured using an anthropomorphic phantom that was abutted to a stack of Solid Water. As expected, the PD decreased as the distance from the field edge increased and the field size decreased. On average, a PD reduction was observed when a 90° collimator rotation was applied and/or when the tertiary MLCs and jaws defined the field aperture. However, the effect of the collimator rotation (90° versus 0°) in PD reduction was not found to be clinically significant when the tertiary MLCs were used to define the field aperture. In the presence of both the MLCs and the fetal shield, the PD was reduced by 58% at a distance of 10 cm from the field edge. The newly designed fetal shield may effectively reduce fetal dose and is relatively easy to setup. Due to its design, we are able to use a broad range of treatment techniques and beam angles. We believe the acquired comprehensive PD dataset collected with and without the fetal shield will be useful for treatment teams to estimate fetal dose and help guide decisions on treatment techniques without the need to perform pretreatment phantommeasurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016


  • Fetal shield
  • Fetus
  • Out-of-field dose
  • Peripheral dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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