(Received 26 June 2000; accepted 14 August 2000)
The most accurate classical dose optimization algorithms in HDR brachytherapy strongly depend on an appropriate selection of source dwell positions which fulfill user-defined geometrical boundary conditions which are relative to patient anatomy. Most anatomical situations, such as for prostate and head and neck tumors, are complex and can require geometries with 5–15 catheters with 48 possible dwell positions per catheter depending on the tumor volume. The manual selection of dwell positions using visual checks by trial and error is very time consuming. This can only be improved by the use of a technique which automatically recognizes and selects the optimum dwell positions for each catheter. We have developed an algorithm, termed an autoactivation algorithm, which improves implant planning by providing a facility for the necessary automatic recognition of HDR source dwell positions.