Dosimetric characterization of carbon fiber stabilization devices for post-operative particle therapy

E. Mastella*, S. Molinelli, G. Magro, A. Mirandola, S. Russo, A. Vai, A. Mairani, K. Choi, M. R. Fiore, P. Fossati, F. Cuzzocrea, A. Gasbarrini, F. Benazzo, S. Boriani, F. Valvo, R. Orecchia, M. Ciocca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

32 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The aim of this study was to evaluate the dosimetric impact caused by recently introduced carbon fiber reinforced polyetheretherketone (CF/PEEK) stabilization devices, in comparison with conventional titanium (Ti) implants, for post-operative particle therapy (PT). Methods As a first step, protons and carbon ions Spread-Out Bragg Peaks (SOBPs) were delivered to CF/PEEK and Ti screws. Transversal dose profiles were acquired with EBT3 films to evaluate beam perturbation. Effects on image quality and reconstruction artifacts were then investigated. CT scans of CF/PEEK and Ti implants were acquired according to our clinical protocol and Hounsfield Unit (HU) mean values were evaluated in three regions of interest. Implants and artifacts were then contoured in the sample CT scans, together with a target volume to simulate a spine tumor. Dose calculation accuracy was assessed by comparing optimized dose distributions with Monte Carlo simulations. In the end, the treatment plans of nine real patients (seven with CF/PEEK and two with Ti stabilization devices) were retrospectively analyzed to evaluate the dosimetric impact potentially occurring if improper management of the spine implant was carried out. Results As expected, CF/PEEK screw caused a very slight beam perturbation in comparison with Ti ones, leading to a lower degree of dose degradation in case of contouring and/or set-up uncertainties. Furthermore, CF/PEEK devices did not determine appreciable HU artifacts on CT images thus improving image quality and, as a final result, dose calculation accuracy. Conclusions CF/PEEK spinal fixation devices resulted dosimetrically more suitable than commonly-used Ti implants for post-operative PT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalPhysica Medica
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon fiber orthopedic implants
  • CF/PEEK material
  • Chordoma
  • Metal artifacts
  • Particle therapy
  • Sarcoma
  • Spine tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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