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An anthropomorphic 3D printed inhomogeneity thorax phantom slab for SBRT commissioning and quality assurance

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Anthropomorphic phantoms with tissue equivalency are required in radiotherapy for quality assurance of imaging and dosimetric processes used in radiotherapy treatments. Commercial phantoms are expensive and provide limited approximation to patient geometry and tissue equivalency. In this study, a 5 cm thick anthropomorphic thoracic slab phantom was designed and 3D printed using models exported from a CT dataset to demonstrate the feasibility of manufacturing anthropomorphic 3D printed phantoms onsite in a clinical radiotherapy department. The 3D printed phantom was manufactured with polylactic acid with an in-fill density of 80% to simulate tissue density and 26% to simulate lung density. A common radio-opacifier, barium sulfate (BaSO4), was added 6% w/w to an epoxy resin mixture to simulate similar HU numbers for bone equivalency. A half-cylindrical shape was cropped away from the spine region to allow insertion of the bone equivalent mixture. Two Gafchromic™ EBT3 film strips were inserted into the 3D printed phantom to measure the delivery of two stereotactic radiotherapy plans targeting lung and bone lesions respectively. Results were analysed within SNC Patient with a low dose threshold of 10% and a gamma criterion of 3%/2 mm and 5%/1 mm. The resulting gamma pass rate across both criterions for lung and bone were ≥ 95% and approximately 85% respectively. Results shows that a cost-effective anthropomorphic 3D printed phantom with realistic heterogeneity simulation can be fabricated in departments with access a suitable 3D printer, which can be used for performing commissioning and quality assurance for stereotactic type radiotherapy to lesions in the presence of heterogeneity.

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This study has received support from the Health Education Training Institute Rural Research Capacity Building Program (HETI RRCBP). The author would also like to thank David Schmidt, Kerith Duncanson and Claire Dempsey for their support and contributions throughout the course of this project.


This work was supported by the Health Education and Research Institute (HETI) for the Rural Research Capacity Building Program (RRCBP).

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Authors and Affiliations



SH wrote the initial draft and subsequent editing, contributed to study design, and performed the investigation and analysis. DB & SC provided supervision, assisted in study design, reviewed the manuscript and helped with visualization. GD built the test inserts and post-processed the 3D phantom while AS designed and built the 3D phantom.

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Correspondence to Stephen How.

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The authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical approval

This study has been categorised as a Quality Improvement (QI) project and does not require ethical approval as reviewed by the Greater Western Human Research Ethics Committee (GWHREC).

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Written informed consent to use the de-identified CT dataset for academic research purposes was obtained by the department.

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Written informed consent to publish not identifiable data was obtained by the department.

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How, S., Banjade, D., Crowe, S. et al. An anthropomorphic 3D printed inhomogeneity thorax phantom slab for SBRT commissioning and quality assurance. Phys Eng Sci Med 46, 575–583 (2023).

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