Bayesian reconstruction and use of anatomical a priori information for emission tomography

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 1996;15(5):673-86. doi: 10.1109/42.538945.


A Bayesian method is presented for simultaneously segmenting and reconstructing emission computed tomography (ECT) images and for incorporating high-resolution, anatomical information into those reconstructions. The anatomical information is often available from other imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Bayesian procedure models the ECT radiopharmaceutical distribution as consisting of regions, such that radiopharmaceutical activity is similar throughout each region. It estimates the number of regions, the mean activity of each region, and the region classification and mean activity of each voxel. Anatomical information is incorporated by assigning higher prior probabilities to ECT segmentations in which each ECT region stays within a single anatomical region. This approach is effective because anatomical tissue type often strongly influences radiopharmaceutical uptake. The Bayesian procedure is evaluated using physically acquired single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) projection data and MRI for the three-dimensional (3-D) Hoffman brain phantom. A clinically realistic count level is used. A cold lesion within the brain phantom is created during the SPECT scan but not during the MRI to demonstrate that the estimation procedure can detect ECT structure that is not present anatomically.