3D-printed headrest for frameless Gamma Knife radiosurgery: Design and validation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Frameless Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) uses a moldable headrest with a thermoplastic mask for patient immobilization. An efficacious headrest is time consuming and difficult to fabricate due to the expertise required to mold the headrest within machine geometrical limitations. The purpose of this study was to design and validate a three-dimensional (3D)-printed headrest for frameless Gamma Knife SRS that can overcome these difficulties. Materials and methods: A headrest 3D model designed to fit within the frameless adapter was 3D printed. Dosimetric properties of the 3D-printed headrest and a standard-of-care moldable headrest were compared by delivering a Gamma Knife treatment to an anthropomorphic head phantom fitted with an ionization chamber and radiochromic film. Ionization measurements were compared to assess headrest attenuation and a gamma index was calculated to compare the film dose distributions. A volunteer study was conducted to assess the immobilization efficacy of the 3D-printed headrest compared to the moldable headrest. Five volunteers had their head motion tracked by a surface tracking system while immobilized in each headrest for 20 min. The recorded motion data were used to calculate the average volunteer movement and a paired t-test was performed. Results: The ionization chamber readings were within 0.55% for the 3D-printed and moldable headrests, and the calculated gamma index showed 98.6% of points within dose difference of 2% and 2 mm distance to agreement for the film measurement. These results demonstrate that the headrests were dosimetrically equivalent within the experimental uncertainties. Average motion (±standard deviation) of the volunteers while immobilized was 1.41 ± 0.43 mm and 1.36 ± 0.51 mm for the 3D-printed and moldable headrests, respectively. The average observed volunteer motion between headrests was not statistically different, based on a P-value of 0.466. Conclusions: We designed and validated a 3D-printed headrest for immobilizing patients undergoing frameless Gamma Knife SRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • 3D printing
  • Gamma Knife
  • immobilization
  • radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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