Journal of Biomedical Optics • Open AccessCoregistered photoacoustic-ultrasound imaging applied to brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is a form of radiation therapy commonly used in the treatment of prostate cancer wherein sustained radiation doses can be precisely targeted to the tumor area by the implantation of small radioactive seeds around the treatment area. Ultrasound is a popular imaging mode for seed implantation, but the seeds are difficult to distinguish from the tissue structure. In this work, we demonstrate the feasibility of photoacoustic imaging for identifying brachytherapy seeds in a tissue phantom, comparing the received intensity to endogenous contrast. We have found that photoacoustic imaging at 1064 nm can identify brachytherapy seeds uniquely at laser penetration depths of 5 cm in biological tissue at the ANSI limit for human exposure with a contrast-to-noise ratio of 26.5 dB. Our realtime combined photoacoustic-ultrasound imaging approach may be suitable for brachytherapy seed placement and post-placement verification, potentially allowing for realtime dosimetry assessment during implantation.