Characterization of 3D printing techniques: Toward patient specific quality assurance spine-shaped phantom for stereotactic body radiation therapy
Development and comparison of spine-shaped phantoms generated by two different 3D-printing technologies, digital light processing (DLP) and Polyjet has been purposed to utilize in patient-specific quality assurance (QA) of stereotactic body radiation treatment. The developed 3D-printed spine QA phantom consisted of an acrylic body phantom and a 3D-printed spine shaped object. DLP and Polyjet 3D printers using a high-density acrylic polymer were employed to produce spine-shaped phantoms based on CT images. Image fusion was performed to evaluate the reproducibility of our phantom, and the Hounsfield units (HUs) were measured based on each CT image. Two different intensity-modulated radiotherapy plans based on both CT phantom image sets from the two printed spine-shaped phantoms with acrylic body phantoms were designed to deliver 16 Gy dose to the planning target volume (PTV) and were compared for target coverage and normal organ-sparing. Image fusion demonstrated good reproducibility of the developed phantom. The HU values of the DLP- and Polyjet-printed spine vertebrae differed by 54.3 on average. The PTV Dmax dose for the DLP-generated phantom was about 1.488 Gy higher than that for the Polyjet-generated phantom. The organs at risk received a lower dose for the 3D printed spine-shaped phantom image using the DLP technique than for the phantom image using the Polyjet technique. Despite using the same material for printing the spine-shaped phantom, these phantoms generated by different 3D printing techniques, DLP and Polyjet, showed different HU values and these differently appearing HU values according to the printing technique could be an extra consideration for developing the 3D printed spine-shaped phantom depending on the patient’s age and the density of the spinal bone. Therefore, the 3D printing technique and materials should be carefully chosen by taking into account the condition of the patient in order to accurately produce 3D printed patient-specific QA phantom.