Evaluation of the attenuation properties of MR equipment for its use in a whole-body PET/MR scanner

Phys Med Biol. 2010 Aug 7;55(15):4361-74. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/55/15/011. Epub 2010 Jul 20.


The combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MR) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners can provide a powerful tool for clinical diagnosis and investigation. Among the challenges of developing a combined scanner, obtaining attenuation maps for PET reconstruction is of critical importance. This requires accounting for the presence of MR hardware in the field of view. The attenuation introduced by this hardware cannot be obtained from MR data. We propose the creation of attenuation models of MR hardware, to be registered into the MR-based attenuation map prior to PET reconstruction. Two steps were followed to assess the viability of this method. First, transmission and emission measurements were performed on MR components (RF coils and medical probes). The severity of the artifacts in the reconstructed PET images was evaluated. Secondly, a high-exposure computed tomography (CT) scan was used to obtain a model of a head coil. This model was registered into the attenuation map of PET/CT scans of a uniform phantom fitted with the coil. The resulting PET images were compared to the PET/CT reconstruction in the absence of coils. The artifacts introduced by misregistration of the model were studied. The transmission scans revealed 17% count loss due to the presence of head and neck coils in the field of view. Important sources of attenuation were found in the lock, signal cables and connectors. However, the worst source of attenuation was the casing between both coils. None of the measured medical probes introduced a significant amount of attenuation. Concerning the attenuation model of the head coil, reconstructed PET images with model-based correction were comparable to the reference PET/CT reconstruction. However, inaccuracies greater than 1-2 mm in the axial positioning of the model led to important artifacts. In conclusion, the results show that model-based attenuation correction is possible. Using a high-exposure scan to create an attenuation model of the coils has been proved feasible. However, adequate registration of the model is mandatory.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neck
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Photons
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / instrumentation*
  • Whole Body Imaging / instrumentation*