Investigation of the use of Optical Photogrammetry in High Dose Rate Surface Brachytherapy

This project utilises optical photogrammetry to address limitations of surface mould applicators for brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy is a type of treatment involving the use of radioactive elements to deliver a dose of radiation to a tumour.  High dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) is used regularly to treat skin lesions at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This procedure requires a plaster cast to be made of the patient’s anatomical treatment site and then a wax mould is made. The mould contains plastic catheters which allows a radioactive source to pass through, allowing a dose of radiation to be delivered uniformly to the patient’s skin.

There are several limitations associated with making this surface mould applicator including:

  • The applicator is very fragile and is easily damaged sometimes resulting in a patient treatment being cancelled
  • It is very time consuming to make a surface applicator by hand
  • The patient must travel to the radiotherapy department several times during the planning stage before treatment begins (an inconvenience for rural patients)
  • The shape of the applicator often doesn’t conform well to the shape of the patient’s skin resulting in poor dosimetric results

Optical photogrammetry has the potential to solve many of these problems. By photographing the patient’s treatment site from multiple angles, a 3D model of the patient can be reconstructed. A highly conformal treatment applicator can then be designed virtually and 3D printed.

This project would suit a student with an interest and/or expertise in:

  • Brachytherapy Treatments in Radiation Oncology
  • Radiation Measurements
  • Computer programming (preferably python)
  • 3D Modelling /CAD
  • 3D Printing

Research in Medical Physics operates in collaboration with Medical Physicists working in hospitals around Adelaide. One of the strengths of the program is the opportunity it provides for students to work in a hospital environment and to gain insight into clinical procedures.

An honours project in medical physics can provide an excellent introduction to the MPhil or a PhD in this field, and to a medical physics career. The program is coordinated by Dr Alex Santos and Dr Michael Douglass.

  • Research in Radiotherapy Physics is carried out in the Department of Medical Physics at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
  • Projects in Medical Imaging Physics are available at both Flinders Medical Centre (Radiology) and the Royal Adelaide Hospital (Nuclear Medicine).

Tagged in Honours projects - Physics, Honours Projects - Alex Santos, Honours Projects - Michael Douglass, Honours in Physics subtheme - Medical physics