Use of a novel anthropomorphic prostate simulator in a prostate brachytherapy transrectal ultrasound imaging workshop for medical physicists

Andrea Jane Doyle, Dervil Cody, Deirdre M. King, Prof Francis J. Sullivan, Jacinta E. Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Ultrasound imaging training is not required as part of radiation oncology training programs nor does any objective competency measure exist to independently assess performance. Physical simulation training can provide a structured approach to this training but only if suitably challenging training simulators exist. This study describes the design and preliminary evaluation of a simulation-based transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) imaging training workshop developed for medical physicists involved in low-dose-rate (LDR) prostate brachytherapy (PBT). Methods: The study incorporated novel high-fidelity anthropomorphic PBT TRUS training simulators and a TRUS imaging module with a blended-learning pedagogical approach, to address TRUS image optimisation and managing image quality. Results: Results demonstrated a significant improvement in knowledge, with an average increase in multiple choice question score of 61% (P < 0.0002), and that there was a 46% (P < 0.0001) average increase in the participants perceived understanding of TRUS scanner operation, and an increase of 36% (P < 0.001) in participants readiness to optimise image quality and mitigate image artefacts. Focus group data explored participants’ experiences, perceptions and challenges with TRUS LDR PBT. Conclusions: This study suggests a benefit in offering a simulation training workshop to medical physicists and the potential benefit to other healthcare professionals involved in prostate brachytherapy, by incorporating novel high-fidelity anthropomorphic PBT TRUS training simulators, in a simulated environment to practice ultrasound image optimisation for PBT image guidance. This approach to training would enable competency-based skill acquisition and continued proficiency or health professionals in the TRUS PBT procedure, outside of the surgical environment without direct exposure to patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-166
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica Medica
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Anthropomorphic training simulator
  • Medical physics
  • Prostate brachytherapy
  • Transrectal ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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