Magnetic resonance imaging-guided attenuation and scatter corrections in three-dimensional brain positron emission tomography

Med Phys. 2003 May;30(5):937-48. doi: 10.1118/1.1569270.


Reliable attenuation correction represents an essential component of the long chain of modules required for the reconstruction of artifact-free, quantitative brain positron emission tomography (PET) images. In this work we demonstrate the proof of principle of segmented magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided attenuation and scatter corrections in three-dimensional (3D) brain PET. We have developed a method for attenuation correction based on registered T1-weighted MRI, eliminating the need of an additional transmission (TX) scan. The MR images were realigned to preliminary reconstructions of PET data using an automatic algorithm and then segmented by means of a fuzzy clustering technique which identifies tissues of significantly different density and composition. The voxels belonging to different regions were classified into air, skull, brain tissue and nasal sinuses. These voxels were then assigned theoretical tissue-dependent attenuation coefficients as reported in the ICRU 44 report followed by Gaussian smoothing and addition of a good statistics bed image. The MRI-derived attenuation map was then forward projected to generate attenuation correction factors (ACFs) to be used for correcting the emission (EM) data. The method was evaluated and validated on 10 patient data where TX and MRI brain images were available. Qualitative and quantitative assessment of differences between TX-guided and segmented MRI-guided 3D reconstructions were performed by visual assessment and by estimating parameters of clinical interest. The results indicated a small but noticeable improvement in image quality as a consequence of the reduction of noise propagation from TX into EM data. Considering the difficulties associated with preinjection TX-based attenuation correction and the limitations of current calculated attenuation correction, MRI-based attenuation correction in 3D brain PET would likely be the method of choice for the foreseeable future as a second best approach in a busy nuclear medicine center and could be applied to other functional brain imaging modalities such as SPECT.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity