Purpose: An alarming number of brain and neck tumors have been reported for operators of interventional radiology. Studies have revealed that interventional radiologists who are occupied with surgical procedures often fail to minimize exposures to the intense invisible X-rays. To improve the occupational radiation safety awareness, more effective training tool is needed to provide interactive and visually stimulating learning environment. The goal of this study is to develop a virtual reality (VR) software training tool to help operators learn to avoid high radiation areas, through game-like interactive simulation and visualization of the spatial distribution of the X-ray field.
Methods: 3D Studio Max and unity3D are used to design and transform models. The radiation field and organ doses to three operator phantoms are simulated using Monte Carlo radiation transport code MCNP, and a positon- and posture-specific organ dose database is generated. Microsoft HoloLens glasses are used to display three-dimensional objects in the IR suite including the operators, X-ray sources and protective equipment. The position and the FOV size of the X-ray source can be adjusted manually according to the actual situation.
Results: The radiation field in the IR suite has been calculated and imported into the virtual reality program. By wearing Microsoft HoloLens glasses, the X-ray flux distribution are shown in different colorsâ€”red represents high radiation area and blue represents low radiation area. Users can â€œseeâ€? the radiation intensity intuitively with different postures and positions.
Conclusion: A preliminary VR-based radiation safety training tool for operators in interventional radiology has been developed and tested using the MS HoloLens system and pre-calculated X-ray field in IR suite. This training tool can be used to assist operators to adjust their postures and positions to minimize exposure to high radiation situations.