Development and evaluation of patient-specific oral stents / mouth-pieces for head and neck radiotherapy

Study level

Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Adjunct Associate Professor Scott Crowe
Adjunct Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Minimising dose to normal tissue in radiotherapy treatments of head and neck cancers can reduce the probability of side effects that compromise patient quality of life, such as xerostamia.

One way that dose to the tongue, cheeks and lips can be minimised is by displacement of those tissues away from the treatment beam. This can be achieved with the use of mouth-pieces or oral-positioning stents.

At the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, this is currently achieved with the use of simple wax mouth-pieces. These tend to be larger than necessary, prone to degradation and difficult to clean.

The aim of this project is to develop a customisable solution that:

  • addresses these issues
  • provides minimal radiation attenuation
  • is able to be reproducibly positioned (even in patients with teeth removed or with tracheostomies)
  • is comfortable for patients undergoing treatment
  • is positively evaluated against the existing technique.

Such a solution has the potential to improve clinical outcomes for head and neck cancer patients.

Research activities

As part of the research project, you will be involved in:

  • designing and fabricating customisable patient-specific oral stents
  • developing a workflow for production for subsequent patients.


As a result of this research project, we expect to:

  • design patient specific oral stents
  • identify and evaluate potential materials for stents
  • fabricate stents
  • develop work instructions for process.

Depending on the scope of the project, there is potential for dosimetry studies to be a part of this project.

Skills and experience

If you have any familiarity with 3D design it will be preferred.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.