Is there a clinical benefit with a smooth compensator design compared with a plunged compensator design for passive scattered protons?

Art A. Tabibian, Adam Powers, Keith Dolormente, Sneha Oommen, Akhil Tiwari, Matt Palmer, Xiaorong R. Zhu, Heng Li, Narayan Sahoo, Paul Wisdom, Kyle Velasco, Kevin Erhart, Henry Stanley, Bao Ngoc T. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In proton therapy, passive scattered proton plans use compensators to conform the dose to the distal surface of the planning volume. These devices are custom made from acrylic or wax for each treatment field using either a plunge-drilled or smooth-milled compensator design. The purpose of this study was to investigate if there is a clinical benefit of generating passive scattered proton radiation treatment plans with the smooth compensator design. We generated 4 plans with different techniques using the smooth compensators. We chose 5 sites and 5 patients for each site for the range of dosimetric effects to show adequate sample. The plans were compared and evaluated using multicriteria (MCA) plan quality metrics for plan assessment and comparison using the Quality Reports [EMR] technology by Canis Lupus LLC. The average absolute difference for dosimetric metrics from the plunged-depth plan ranged from -4.7 to +3.0 and the average absolute performance results ranged from -6.6% to +3%. The manually edited smooth compensator plan yielded the best dosimetric metric, +3.0, and performance, + 3.0% compared to the plunged-depth plan. It was also superior to the other smooth compensator plans. Our results indicate that there are multiple approaches to achieve plans with smooth compensators similar to the plunged-depth plans. The smooth compensators with manual compensator edits yielded equal or better target coverage and normal tissue (NT) doses compared with the other smooth compensator techniques. Further studies are under investigation to evaluate the robustness of the smooth compensator design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Compensator
  • Passive scattered proton
  • Plunge-drilled
  • Plunged-depth compensator
  • Proton
  • Smooth compensator
  • Smooth-milled

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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