Positioning reproducibility with and without rotational corrections for 2 head and neck immobilization systems

Lorraine Courneyea, John Mullins, Michelle Howard, Robert Foote, Yolanda Garces, Daniel Ma, Chris Beltran, Debra Brinkmann, Deanna Pafundi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of offline rotational corrections and assess intrafraction motion for head and neck (H&N) cancer patients immobilized with and without a custom neck cushion. Methods and materials: Fifty H&N cancer patients were immobilized and imaged with pretreatment and posttreatment cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) for each treatment fraction. Of these patients, 25 had a custom neck cushion added to their immobilization. Each CBCT was registered to the simulation computed tomography offline. Registrations were performed with automatching tools and a matching volume of interest that consisted of a 5-mm expansion around the mandible, occipital bone, C1/C2, and C7/T1. To determine positioning accuracy, the registration was inspected to confirm these bony anatomy structures were contained within a 3- or 5-mm expansion of the simulation position. If not, the registration was repeated with rotational corrections included and re-evaluated. For each fraction, intrafraction motion was also quantified through the difference between the pretreatment and posttreatment CBCT registration coordinates. Results: For translational registrations, the bony anatomy in pretreatment imaging was outside the 3-mm or 5-mm expansion structure, respectively, for 49% and 15% of fractions on average for patients without a custom headrest and for 48% and 13% of fractions on average for patients with a custom headrest. The addition of rotational corrections reduced these numbers to 21% and 4% and to 28% and 6%, respectively. Intrafraction motion was significantly lower for patients immobilized with the addition of a custom neck cushion: 1.0 ± 0.5 mm compared with 1.8 ± 1.6 mm for patients with the standard headrest only (P =02). This was reflected in posttreatment positioning accuracy, which was significantly reduced in the case of the standard headrest compared with pretreatment imaging (P values of <.001 to.048). Conclusions: Rotational corrections significantly improved pretreatment patient positioning accuracy (P <.001). Intrafraction motion was reduced significantly through the addition of a custom neck cushion and resulted in an increase in posttreatment positioning accuracy for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e575-e581
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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