Dosimetric considerations of 99mTc-MDP uptake within the epiphyseal plates of the long bones of pediatric patients

Justin L. Brown, Briana Sexton-Stallone, Ye Li, Eric C. Frey, S. Ted Treves, Frederic H. Fahey, Donika Plyku, Xinhua Cao, Chansoo Choi, Chan Hyeong Kim, George Sgouros, John P. Aris, Wesley E. Bolch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skeletal scintigraphy is most performed in pediatric patients using the radiopharmaceutical 99mTc labelled methylene diphosphonate (99mTc-MDP). Reference biokinetic models for 99mTc-MDP indicate 50% of the administered activity is uniformly localized to the interior bone surfaces (trabecular and cortical regions), yet imaging data clearly show some preferential uptake to the epiphyseal growth plates of the long bones. To explore the dosimetric consequences of these regional activity concentrations, we have modified mesh-type computational phantoms of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) reference pediatric series to explicitly include geometric models of the epiphyseal growth plates (2 mm in thickness) within the left/right, distal/proximal ends of the humeri, radii, ulnae, femora, tibia, and fibulae. Bone mineral activity from the ICRP Publication 128 biokinetic model for 99mTc-MDP (ICRP 2015) was then partitioned to the growth plates at values of 0.5%, 4.4%, 8.3%, 12.2%, 16.1%, and 20%. Radiation transport simulations were performed to compute 99mTc S-values and organ dose coefficients to the soft tissues and to bone site-specific regions of spongiosa. As the percentage of bone activity assigned to the growth plates was increased (from 0.5% to 20%), absorbed doses to the soft tissue organs, active bone marrow, bone endosteum (BE), as well as the detriment-weighted dose, were shown to decrease from their nominal values (no substantial growth plate activity), while epiphyseal plate self-doses increased. In the 15 year old male phantom, moving from 0.5% to 20% relative bone activity within the epiphyseal plates resulted in a 15% reduction in active marrow (AM) and BE dose, a 10% reduction in mean soft tissue and detriment-weighted dose, and a 6.3-fold increase in epiphyseal plate self-dose. In the newborn female phantom, we observed a 18% decrease in AM and BE dose, a 10% decrease in mean soft tissue dose, a 15% decrease in detriment-weighted dose, and 12.8-fold increase in epiphyseal plate self-dose. Increases (to 3 mm) and decreases (to 1 mm) in the assumed growth plate thickness of our models were shown to impact only the growth plate self-dose. Future work in differential quantification of 99mTc-MDP activity-growth plates versus other bone surfaces-is required to provide clinically realistic data on activity partitioning as a function of patient age, and perhaps skeletal site. The phantom series presented here may be used to develop more optimized age-related guidance on 99mTc-MDP administered activities to children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235025
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020


  • Administered activity guidelines
  • Computational phantoms
  • Dose reduction/optimization
  • Epiphyseal growth plates
  • Organ dosimetry
  • Skeletal scintigraphy
  • Tc-99m MDP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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