Systematic evaluation and plan quality assessment of the Leksell® gamma knife® lightning dose optimizer

D. Jay Wieczorek, Rupesh Kotecha, Matthew D. Hall, Martin C. Tom, Stephen Davis, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Michael W. McDermott, Minesh P. Mehta, Alonso N. Gutierrez, Ranjini Tolakanahalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To compare stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) plan quality metrics of manual forward planning (MFP) and Elekta Fast Inverse Planning™ (FIP)-based inversely optimized plans for patients treated with Gamma Knife®. Clinically treated, MFP SRS plans for 100 consecutive patients (115 lesions; 67 metastatic and 48 benign) were replanned with the FIP dose optimizer based on a convex linear programming formulation. Comparative plans were generated to match or exceed the following metrics in order of importance: Target Coverage (TC), Paddick Conformity Index (PCI), beam-on time (BOT), and Gradient Index (GI). Plan quality metrics and delivery parameters between MFP and FIP were compared for all lesions and stratified into subgroups for further analysis. Additionally, performance of FIP for multiple punctate (<4 mm) metastatic lesions on a subset of cases was investigated. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test for non-normal distributions was used to assess the statistical differences between the MFP and FIP treatment plans. Overall, 76% (87/115) of FIP plans showed a statistically significant improvement in plan quality compared to MFP plans. As compared to MFP, FIP plans demonstrated an increase in the median PCI by 1.1% (p<0.01), a decrease in GI by 3.7% (p< 0.01), and an increase in median number of shots by 74% (p< 0.01). TC and BOT were not statistically significantly different between MFP and FIP plans (p>0.05). FIP plans showed a statistically significant increase in use of 16 mm (p< 0.01) and blocked shots (p< 0.01), with a corresponding decrease in 4 mm shots (p< 0.01). Use of multiple shots per coordinate was significantly higher in FIP plans (p<0.01). The FIP optimizer failed to generate a clinically acceptable plan in 4/115 (3.5%) lesions despite optimization parameter changes. The mean optimization time for FIP plans was 5.0 min (Range: 1.0 – 10.0 min). In the setting of multiple punctate lesions, PCI for FIP was significantly improved (p<0.01) by changing the default low-dose/BOT penalty optimization setting from a default of 50/50 to 75-85/40. FIP offers a significant reduction in manual effort for SRS treatment planning while achieving comparable plan quality to an expert planner—substantially improving overall planning efficiency. FIP plans employ a non-intuitive increased use of blocked sectors and shot-in-shot technique to achieve high quality plans. Several FIP plans failed to achieve clinically acceptable treatments and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Dose optimizer
  • Gamma Knife
  • Inverse planning
  • Radiosurgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • SRS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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