Physics of Radiology

Author:  Anthony B. Wolbarst
ISBN:  9780944838952
Published:  1993 | 461 pp. | Hardcover



Australasian Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine, Vol. 30, Number 4  |  2007

This book on The Physics of Radiotherapy X-Rays and Electrons is an expanded and updated successor to The Physics of Radiotherapy X-Rays from Linear Accelerators by the same authors and published by Medical Physics Publishing in 1997. It is pleasing to see many coloured illustrations in this new edition that encompasses many of the advances made in radiotherapy in the last decade, including new sections on IMRT, IGRT and tomotherapy. It also includes a new chapter on electrons in radiotherapy which was one of the shortcomings of 1997 edition. The quality of paper used in the production of this book has also improved.


Chapters 1–4 provide an outline of medical linear accelerators, interaction properties of X-rays and electron beams, dosimetric equipment and methods used for therapeutic X-rays and electrons, and properties of X-ray beams from linear accelerators. Properties of electron beams from linear accelerators are given in a new Chapter 5. It also contains a few brief comments on protons, including their production, beam delivery and a general report on clinical experience.


Chapter 6 covers the treatment planning process including the use of traditional X-ray simulators and CT simulation in acquiring patient datasets. Description of MR and PET ultrasound imaging devices as treatment planning aids is also provided but it is very brief. The authors have given an excellent coverage of special radiotherapy procedures including IMRT, SRS, tomotherapy etc. in Chapter 7. However, I am surprised to note that total body photon irradiation, one of the important treatment techniques used prior to bone marrow transplantation, has not been covered in any section. Chapter 8 contains discussions on beam calibration protocols and current dosimetry practices.


Chapters 9 and 10 contain topics on photon beam modelling and inhomogeneity correction methods including a discussion on Monte Carlo and Convolution methods.


The topics of quality assurance including patient immobilisation and image guidance in radiotherapy are covered in Chapters 11 and 12. Radiation protection methods including the principles of accelerator room design are given in Chapter 13. Discussions on radiobiological modelling including TCP, NTCP and EUD are provided in Chapter 14.


The graphic illustrations are generally very good, although some have inconsistent font sizes, and they make the learning process a refreshing experience.


I believe The Physics of Radiotherapy X-rays and Electrons is an excellent source of knowledge in the field of radiation oncology medical physics for students as well as practicing professionals. I congratulate the authors for their significant contribution to the community of radiation oncology.


Madhava Bhat,

Chief Medical Physicist, Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre,

Adelaide, SA Australia