How low can you go? A CBCT dose reduction study

Arthur J. Olch, Parham Alaei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is often used for patient setup based solely on bony anatomy. The goal of this work was to evaluate whether CBCT dose can be lowered to the level of kV image pair doses when used for bony anatomy-based IGRT without compromising positioning accuracy. Methods: An anthropomorphic phantom was CT scanned in the head, head and neck, chest, and pelvis regions and setup on the linear accelerator couch with the isocenter near the planned location. Cone beam computed tomographies were performed with the standard “full dose” protocol supplied by the linac vendor. With sequentially lowering the dose, three-dimensional (3D) matching was performed for each without shifting the couch. The standard kV image pair protocol for each site was also used to image the phantoms. For all studies, six degrees of freedom was included in the 2D or 3D matching to the extent they could be employed. Imaging doses were determined in air at isocenter following the TG-61 formalism. Results: Cone beam computed tomography dose was reduced by 81–98% of the standard CBCT protocol to nearly that of the standard kV image pair dose for each site. Relative to the standard CBCT shift values, translational shifts were within 0.3 and 1.6 mm for all sites, for the reduced dose CBCT and kV image pair, respectively. Rotational shifts were within 0.2 degree and 0.7 degrees for all sites, for the reduced dose CBCTs and kV image pair, respectively. Conclusion: For bony anatomy-based image guidance, CBCT dose can be reduced to a value similar to that of a kV image pair with similar or better patient positioning accuracy than kV image pair alignment. Where rotations are important to correct, CBCT will be superior to orthogonal kV imaging without significantly increased imaging dose. This is especially important for image guidance for pediatric patient treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


  • CBCT
  • image gently
  • imaging dose

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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