Physical performance evaluation of a 256-slice CT-scanner for four-dimensional imaging

Med Phys. 2004 Jun;31(6):1348-56. doi: 10.1118/1.1747758.


We have developed a prototype 256-slice CT-scanner for four-dimensional (4D) imaging that employs continuous rotations of a cone-beam. Since a cone-beam scan along a circular orbit does not collect a complete set of data to make an exact reconstruction of a volume [three-dimensional (3D) image], it might cause disadvantages or artifacts. To examine effects of the cone-beam data collection on image quality, we have evaluated physical performance of the prototype 256-slice CT-scanner with 0.5 mm slices and compared it to that of a 16-slice CT-scanner with 0.75 mm slices. As a result, we found that image noise, uniformity, and high contrast detectability were independent of z coordinate. A Feldkamp artifact was observed in distortion measurements. Full width at half maximum (FWHM) of slice sensitivity profiles (SSP) increased with z coordinate though it seemed to be caused by other reasons than incompleteness of data. With regard to low contrast detectability, smaller objects were detected more clearly at the midplane (z = 0 mm) than at z = 40 mm, though circular-band like artifacts affected detection. The comparison between the 16-slice and the 256-slice scanners showed better performance for the 16-slice scanner regarding the SSP, low contrast detectability, and distortion. The inferiorities of the 256-slice scanner in other than distortion measurement (Feldkamp artifact) seemed to be partly caused by the prototype nature of the scanner and should be improved in the future scanner. The image noise, uniformity, and high contrast detectability were almost identical for both CTs. The 256-slice scanner was superior to the 16-slice scanner regarding the PSF, though it was caused by the smaller transverse beam width of the 256-slice scanner. In order to compare both scanners comprehensively in terms of exposure dose, noise, slice thickness, and transverse spatial resolution, K=Dsigma2ha3 was calculated, where D was exposure dose (CT dose index), sigma was magnitude of noise, h was slice thickness (FWHM of SSP), and a was transverse spatial resolution (FWHM of PSF). The results showed that the K value was 25% larger for the 16-slice scanner, and that the 256-slice scanner was 1.25 times more effective than the 16-slice scanner at the midplane. The superiority in K value for the 256-slice scanner might be partly caused by decrease of wasted exposure with a wide-angle cone-beam scan. In spite of the several problems of the 256-slice scanner, it took a volume data approximately 1.0 mm (transverse) x 1.3 mm (longitudinal) resolution for a wide field of view (approximately 100 mm long) along the zeta axis in a 1 s scan if resolution was defined by the FWHM of the PSF or the SSP, which should be very useful to take dynamic 3D (4D) images of moving organs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Humans
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / statistics & numerical data