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The purpose of this study was to model the metallic port in breast tissue expanders and to improve the accuracy of dose calculations in a commercial photon treatment planning system (TPS). The density of the model was determined by comparing TPS calculations and ion chamber (IC) measurements. The model was further validated and compared with two widely used clinical models by using a simplified anthropomorphic phantom and thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD) measurements. Dose perturbations and target coverage for a single postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) patient were also evaluated. The dimensions of the metallic port model were determined to be 1.75 cm in diameter and 5 mm in thickness. The density of the port was adjusted to be 7.5 g/cm3 which minimized the differences between IC measurements and TPS calculations. Using the simplified anthropomorphic phantom, we found the TPS calculated point doses based on the new model were in agreement with TLD measurements within 5.0% and were more accurate than doses calculated based on the clinical models. Based on the photon treatment plans for a real patient, we found that the metallic port has a negligible dosimetric impact on chest wall, while the port introduced significant dose shadow in skin area. The current clinical port models either overestimate or underestimate the attenuation from the metallic port, and the dose perturbation depends on the plan and the model in a complex way. TPS calculations based on our model of the metallic port showed good agreement with measurements for all cases. This new model could improve the accuracy of dose calculations for PMRT patients who have temporary tissue expanders implanted during radiotherapy and could potentially reduce the risk of complications after the treatment.

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Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics

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