Three-dimensional printer-aided casting of soft, custom silicone boluses (SCSBs) for head and neck radiation therapy

Tsuicheng Chiu, Jun Tan, Mathew Brenner, Xuejun Gu, Ming Yang, Kenneth Westover, Tobin Strom, David Sher, Steve Jiang, Bo Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: Custom tissue compensators provide dosimetric advantages for treating superficial or complex anatomy, but currently available fabrication technology is expensive or impractical for most clinical operations and yields compensators that are difficult for patients to tolerate. We aimed to develop an inexpensive, clinically feasible workflow for generating patient-specific, soft, custom silicone boluses (SCSBs) for head-and-neck (HN) radiation therapy. Methods and materials: We developed a method using 3-dimensional printed parts for generating SCSBs for the treatment of HN cancers. The clinical workflow for generation of SCSBs was characterized inclusive of patient simulation to treatment in terms of resource time and cost. Dosimetric properties such as percentage depth dose and dose profiles were measured for SCSBs using GaF films. Comprehensive measurements were also conducted on an HN phantom. SCSBs were generated and used for electron or photon based radiation treatments of 7 HN patients with lesions at nose, cheek, eye, or ears. In vivo dose measurements with optically simulated luminescence dosimeters were performed. Results: Total design and fabrication time from patient simulation to radiation treatment start required approximately 1 week, with fabrication constituting 1 to 2 working days depending on bolus surface area, volume, and complexity. Computed tomography and dosimetric properties of the soft bolus were similar to water. In vivo dose measurements on 7 treated patients confirmed that the dose deposition conformed to planned doses. Material costs were lower than currently available hard plastic boluses generated with 3-dimensional printing technology. All treated patients tolerated SCSBs for the duration of therapy. Conclusions: Generation and use of SCSBs for clinical use is feasible and effective for the treatment of HN cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e167-e174
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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