Technical Report: Evaluation of peripheral dose for flattening filter free photon beams

E. L. Covington, T. A. Ritter, J. M. Moran, A. M. Owrangi, J. I. Prisciandaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: To develop a comprehensive peripheral dose (PD) dataset for the two unflattened beams of nominal energy 6 and 10 MV for use in clinical care. Methods: Measurements were made in a 40×120×20 cm3 (width × length × depth) stack of solid water using an ionization chamber at varying depths (dmax, 5, and 10 cm), field sizes (3×3 to 30×30 cm2), and distances from the field edge (5-40 cm). The effects of the multileaf collimator (MLC) and collimator rotation were also evaluated for a 10×10 cm2 field. Using the same phantom geometry, the accuracy of the analytic anisotropic algorithm (AAA) and Acuros dose calculation algorithm was assessed and compared to the measured values. Results: The PDs for both the 6 flattening filter free (FFF) and 10 FFF photon beams were found to decrease with increasing distance from the radiation field edge and the decreasing field size. The measured PD was observed to be higher for the 6 FFF than for the 10 FFF for all field sizes and depths. The impact of collimator rotation was not found to be clinically significant when used in conjunction with MLCs. AAA and Acuros algorithms both underestimated the PD with average errors of -13.6% and -7.8%, respectively, for all field sizes and depths at distances of 5 and 10 cm from the field edge, but the average error was found to increase to nearly -69% at greater distances. Conclusions: Given the known inaccuracies of peripheral dose calculations, this comprehensive dataset can be used to estimate the out-of-field dose to regions of interest such as organs at risk, electronic implantable devices, and a fetus. While the impact of collimator rotation was not found to significantly decrease PD when used in conjunction with MLCs, results are expected to be machine model and beam energy dependent. It is not recommended to use a treatment planning system to estimate PD due to the underestimation of the out-of-field dose and the inability to calculate dose at extended distances due to the limits of the dose calculation matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4789-4796
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • flattening filter free
  • out-of-field dose
  • peripheral dose
  • unflattened beams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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