Medical Physics Research
The research activities of the Division of Radiological Physics are generally directed towards solving clinical (patient-related) problems. Specifically, our overall mission is to minimize the radiation doses (risks) used to perform radiological examinations while ensuring the highest achievable diagnostic performance. Our clinical research activities generally fall into one of the three following categories:
I. Quantifying Radiation Doses
a) Determining adult and pediatric thyroid doses in CT examinations
b) Extending our recent work for determining embryo/fetal doses in CT examinations to radiographic and fluoroscopic examinations
c) Obtaining estimates of doses from the “nuclear” and “x-ray” components of PET CT examinations
d) Incorporation of x-ray tube modulation schemes (automatic exposure control) and patient size into dose estimates
II. Interpreting Patient Doses
a) Conversion of the amount of radiation used to perform CT examinations (dose length product) into the corresponding patient cancer risk, explicitly taking into account patient demographics. Our work in adult body CT is being extended to head CT and pediatric patients.
b) Conversion of the amount of radiation in radiograph/fluoroscopy (kerma area product) into the corresponding patient cancer risk, while taking into account patient size and demographics
c) Investigation of adult and pediatric thyroid radiation risks in neck CT imaging
III. Minimizing Doses/Risks
a) Investigation of the effect of the addition of iodinated contrast media in CT on patient doses and risks. This work is being performed using Monte Carlo techniques with collaborators at Clemson University.
b) Measuring (and minimizing) operator doses in interventional radiology and identifying ways to reduce operator doses without adversely affecting diagnostic performance
c) Using Monte Carlo techniques to build a software model to simulate Interventional Radiology operator doses (Clemson collaboration)
d) Optimizing pediatric cardiac imaging with respect to x-ray beam quality (half value layer) to minimize skin doses and energy imparted to patients while maintaining image quality (signal-to-noise ratio) (Clemson collaboration)