A Monte Carlo based method to estimate radiation dose from multidetector CT (MDCT): Cylindrical and anthropomorphic phantoms

J. J. DeMarco, C. H. Cagnon, D. D. Cody, D. M. Stevens, C. H. McCollough, J. O'Daniel, M. F. McNitt-Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


The purpose of this work was to extend the verification of Monte Carlo based methods for estimating radiation dose in computed tomography (CT) exams beyond a single CT scanner to a multidetector CT (MDCT) scanner, and from cylindrical CTDI phantom measurements to both cylindrical and physical anthropomorphic phantoms. Both cylindrical and physical anthropomorphic phantoms were scanned on an MDCT under the specified conditions. A pencil ionization chamber was used to record exposure for the cylindrical phantom, while MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor) detectors were used to record exposure at the surface of the anthropomorphic phantom. Reference measurements were made in air at isocentre using the pencil ionization chamber under the specified conditions. Detailed Monte Carlo models were developed for the MDCT scanner to describe the x-ray source (spectra, bowtie filter, etc) and geometry factors (distance from focal spot to isocentre, source movement due to axial or helical scanning, etc). Models for the cylindrical (CTDI) phantoms were available from the previous work. For the anthropomorphic phantom, CT image data were used to create a detailed voxelized model of the phantom's geometry. Anthropomorphic phantom material compositions were provided by the manufacturer. A simulation of the physical scan was performed using the mathematical models of the scanner, phantom and specified scan parameters. Tallies were recorded at specific voxel locations corresponding to the MOSFET physical measurements. Simulations of air scans were performed to obtain normalization factors to convert results to absolute dose values. For the CTDI body (32 cm) phantom, measurements and simulation results agreed to within 3.5% across all conditions. For the anthropomorphic phantom, measured surface dose values from a contiguous axial scan showed significant variation and ranged from 8 mGy/100 mAs to 16 mGy/100 mAs. Results from helical scans of overlapping pitch (0.9375) and extended pitch (1.375) were also obtained. Comparisons between the MOSFET measurements and the absolute dose value derived from the Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate agreement in terms of absolute dose values as well as the spatially varying characteristics. This work demonstrates the ability to extend models from a single detector scanner using cylindrical phantoms to an MDCT scanner using both cylindrical and anthropomorphic phantoms. Future work will be extended to voxelized patient models of different sizes and to other MDCT scanners. (Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3989-4004
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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