Effects of insertion speed and trocar stiffness on the accuracy of needle position for brachytherapy

Carl S. McGill, Jonathon A. Schwartz, Jason Z. Moore, Patrick W. McLaughlin, Albert J. Shih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: In prostate brachytherapy, accurate positioning of the needle tip to place radioactive seeds at its target site is critical for successful radiation treatment. During the procedure, needle deflection leads to seed misplacement and suboptimal radiation dose to cancerous cells. In practice, radiation oncologists commonly use high-speed hand needle insertion to minimize displacement of the prostate as well as the needle deflection. Effects of speed during needle insertion and stiffness of trocar (a solid rod inside the hollow cannula) on needle deflection are studied. Methods: Needle insertion experiments into phantom were performed using a 22 factorial design (2 parameters at 2 levels), with each condition having replicates. Analysis of the deflection data included calculating the average, standard deviation, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) to find significant single and two-way interaction factors. Results: The stiffer tungsten carbide trocar is effective in reducing the average and standard deviation of needle deflection. The fast insertion speed together with the stiffer trocar generated the smallest average and standard deviation for needle deflection for almost all cases. Conclusions: The combination of stiff tungsten carbide trocar and fast needle insertion speed are important to decreasing needle deflection. The knowledge gained from this study can be used to improve the accuracy of needle insertion during brachytherapy procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1811-1817
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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