Model-based image reconstruction for four-dimensional PET

Med Phys. 2006 May;33(5):1288-98. doi: 10.1118/1.2192581.


Positron emission tonography (PET) is useful in diagnosis and radiation treatment planning for a variety of cancers. For patients with cancers in thoracic or upper abdominal region, the respiratory motion produces large distortions in the tumor shape and size, affecting the accuracy in both diagnosis and treatment. Four-dimensional (4D) (gated) PET aims to reduce the motion artifacts and to provide accurate measurement of the tumor volume and the tracer concentration. A major issue in 4D PET is the lack of statistics. Since the collected photons are divided into several frames in the 4D PET scan, the quality of each reconstructed frame degrades as the number of frames increases. The increased noise in each frame heavily degrades the quantitative accuracy of the PET imaging. In this work, we propose a method to enhance the performance of 4D PET by developing a new technique of 4D PET reconstruction with incorporation of an organ motion model derived from 4D-CT images. The method is based on the well-known maximum-likelihood expectation-maximization (ML-EM) algorithm. During the processes of forward- and backward-projection in the ML-EM iterations, all projection data acquired at different phases are combined together to update the emission map with the aid of deformable model, the statistics is therefore greatly improved. The proposed algorithm was first evaluated with computer simulations using a mathematical dynamic phantom. Experiment with a moving physical phantom was then carried out to demonstrate the accuracy of the proposed method and the increase of signal-to-noise ratio over three-dimensional PET. Finally, the 4D PET reconstruction was applied to a patient case.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Artifacts*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Time Factors