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Research Papers

A Device for the Automated Loading and Detection of Brachytherapy Elements Using Nonmechanical Methods for use in Prostate Cancer Treatment

[+] Author and Article Information
Jason A. Proffitt

Department of Engineering and Technology,  Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723jproffitt@avltech.com

Aaron K. Ball

Department of Engineering and Technology,  Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723ballaaron@wcu.edu

J. Med. Devices 6(2), 021009 (May 07, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006542 History: Received July 11, 2011; Revised February 02, 2012; Published May 07, 2012; Online May 07, 2012

Within the recent resurgence of brachytherapy as treatment for prostate cancer, many new devices have been conceived in the preparation of surgical brachytherapy equipment. Specifically, this work encompasses the automated preparation of preloaded surgical brachytherapy applicators or “needles” through the loading of radioactive seed elements and benign spacer elements. While traditionally a manual operation, current device methodology in this application revolves around semi-automatic mechanical interaction within the element loading procedure. Mechanical interaction can subject elements to damage, specifically seed elements due to thin metallic construct. Damage to elements within a loading system can result in failure of the performed brachytherapy treatment causing potential harm to the patient. Hesitancy in acceptance of these mechanical separation element loading devices can be attributed to the failure nature of these devices. This work seeks to solve the current issue of element damage through noninteraction while offering improvement through full automation of the loading procedure.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Photograph of dummy seeds (left) with diagram of construction (right)

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Figure 2

Photograph of spacers (left) with diagram of construction (right)

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Figure 3

Nonmechanical interaction conceptual design intent. Original design pre pilot testing (left) and post pilot testing (right).

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Figure 4

Single MTA used within pilot testing. Subtractive machining process (left) shown with fully assembled device (center) and close up of element interaction area (right).

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Figure 5

Constructed full-scale nonmechanical brachytherapy element loading system (left) and light gate illustration (right)

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Figure 6

Graph representing normal distributions based on light gate voltages collected through normal operations where a seed element was desired by the VI with a sample size of 57 loads (large random dosimetry testing)

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Figure 7

Graph representing normal distributions based on light gate voltages collected through normal operations where a spacer element was desired by the VI with a sample size of 45 loads (large random dosimetry testing)

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Figure 8

Graph representing normal distributions based on light gate voltages collected through normal operations. Comparison of element capture against empty set condition using all collected data sets.

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