The use of fluoroscopy to guide needle placement in interstitial gynecological brachytherapy

Subir Nag, Rafael Martínez-Monge, Rodney J. Ellis, George Lewandowski, Luis Vacarello, John G. Boutselis, Larry Copeland

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48 Scopus citations


Purpose: Interstitial brachytherapy is generally performed for gynecological malignancies with extensive parametrial involvement, by inserting the needles through a transperineal template. Often, the implanted needles are not parallel, and the multiple sources can be difficult to identify on localization radiographs, especially if obtained with a portable X-ray unit. We have used fluoroscopy to guide the needles for interstitial brachytherapy to treat various gynecological malignancies. Because the resultant needles are parallel, dosimetry can be performed based on the template hole positions used, rather than identifying individual sources. This report focuses on the technique; the outcome of patients implanted with this technique will be reported separately. Methods: Seventy-one patients were implanted transperineally with 192iridium using a Syed template under fluoroscopic guidance, from September 1989 to May 1995, for bulky parametrial disease, narrow vagina, extensive vaginal involvement, recurrent disease after previous course of pelvic radiation therapy, or in cases in which the patient had previously undergone hysterectomy. 137Cesium was added in a central tandem in cases with a cervical os. Thirty patients were treated for primary cervical or vaginal carcinoma; 41 patients were treated for recurrent disease from endometrial or cervical cancers. The brachytherapy dose (prescribed to the periphery of the implant) was 40 to 55 Gy when used alone (15 patients) and 22-40 Gy when used as a boost to 34.2 to 59.4 Gy of pelvic external-beam radiotherapy (56 patients). The patients were followed for 6 to 63 months. Results: In all cases, some of the needles had to be repositioned to improve the alignment. Hence, the use of fluoroscopy aided in achieving parallel placement of the needles in all implants as seen on anterior- posterior radiographs. Because the 192iridium sources were ordered beforehand based on the preplan, and the dosimetry was based on idealized geometry of the template hole positions, all patients were loaded on the same day of implant. Conclusion: Fluoroscopically guided perineal interstitial brachytherapy is a feasible technique for use in various gynecological malignancies. The use of fluoroscopic guidance helped to achieve parallel needle placement in all of our implants, but it required repositioning of some of the needles in all cases. The parallel positioning allowed the use of preplanned dosimetry, minimizing the delay in loading of the patients. The outcome of the patients treated using this technique is currently undergoing analysis and will be reported separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-420
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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