A virtual matching technique for three-field breast irradiation using 3-D planning

Jonathan B. Strauss*, Michael C. Kirk, Sea S. Chen, Anand P. Shah, Benjamin T. Gielda, James C. Chu, Julius V. Turian, Adam Dickler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Patients with breast cancer are often treated with radiation to the breast (or chest wall) and draining regional lymph nodes. This is typically performed with a three-field technique in which an anterior supraclavicular field is matched to opposed tangent fields. A single isocenter technique is not always possible. Several techniques have been described to create a perfect match using a conventional simulator. We describe and test a simple, fast and accurate technique to estimate the couch and collimator angles required for a perfect geometric match using 3-D treatment planning software. This method requires no mathematical formulae and is verifiable relative to patient anatomy. An external skin contour is created on the axial slice at the match line and displayed with a 3-D representation. Using a beam's eye view (BEV) of a tangent field, small couch and collimator rotation adjustments are made sequentially until the contour edges are superimposed. The virtual external contour technique was easy to use, gave verification of the match in the BEV and yielded estimates of couch and collimator rotations very close to those calculated using published formulae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-215
Number of pages4
JournalPhysica Medica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Breast cancer
  • Field matching
  • Radiation
  • Three-field technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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