Clinical implementation, logistics and workflow guide for MRI image based interstitial HDR brachytherapy for gynecological cancers

Hualin Zhang*, Eric D. Donnelly, Jonathan B. Strauss, Zhuang Kang, Mahesh Gopalakrishnan, Plato C. Lee, Gocha Khelashvili, Chithra K. Nair, Brian H. Lee, Vythialingam Sathiaseelan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Interstitial brachytherapy (IBT) is often utilized to treat women with bulky endometrial or cervical cancers not amendable to intracavitary treatments. A modern trend in IBT is the utilization of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a high dose rate (HDR) afterloader for conformal 3D image-based treatments. The challenging part of this procedure is to properly complete many sequenced and co-related physics preparations. We presented the physics preparations and clinical workflow required for implementing MRI-based HDR IBT (MRI-HDR-IBT) of gynecologic cancer patients in a high-volume brachytherapy center. The present document is designed to focus on the clinical steps required from a physicist’s standpoint. Those steps include: (a) testing IBT equipment with MRI scanner, (b) preparation of templates and catheters, (c) preparation of MRI line markers, (d) acquisition, importation and registration of MRI images, (e) development of treatment plans and (f) treatment evaluation and documentation. The checklists of imaging acquisition, registration and plan development are also presented. Based on the TG-100 recommendations, a workflow chart, a fault tree analysis and an error-solution table listing the speculated errors and solutions of each step are provided. Our workflow and practice indicated the MRI-HDR-IBT is achievable in most radiation oncology clinics if the following equipment is available: MRI scanner, CT (computed tomography) scanner, MRI/CT compatible templates and applicators, MRI line markers, HDR afterloader and a brachytherapy treatment planning system capable of utilizing MRI images. The OR/procedure room availability and anesthesiology support are also important. The techniques and approaches adopted from the GEC-ESTRO (Groupe Européen de Curiethérapie - European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) recommendations and other publications are proven to be feasible. The MRI-HDR-IBT program can be developed over time and progressively validated through clinical experience, this document is expected to serve as a reference workflow guideline for implementing and performing the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • MRI based brachytherapy
  • gynecological cancer
  • high dose rate
  • interstitial brachytherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical implementation, logistics and workflow guide for MRI image based interstitial HDR brachytherapy for gynecological cancers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this