Purpose: To evaluate spectral computed tomography (CT) with metal artifacts reduction software (MARS) for reduction of metal artifacts associated with gold fiducial seeds.
Materials and methods: Thirteen consecutive patients with 37 fiducial seeds implanted for radiation therapy of abdominal lesions were included in this HIPAA-compliant, institutional review board-approved prospective study. Six patients were women (46%) and seven were men (54%). The mean age was 61.1 years (median, 58 years; range, 29-78 years). Spectral imaging was used for arterial phase CT. Images were reconstructed with and without MARS in axial, coronal, and sagittal planes. Two radiologists independently reviewed reconstructions and selected the best image, graded the visibility of the tumor, and assessed the amount of artifacts in all planes. A linear-weighted κ statistic and Wilcoxon signed-rank test were used to assess interobserver variability. Histogram analysis with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used for objective evaluation of artifacts reduction.
Results: Fiducial seeds were placed in pancreas (n = 5), liver (n = 7), periportal lymph nodes (n = 1), and gallbladder bed (n = 1). MARS-reconstructed images received a better grade than those with standard reconstruction in 60% and 65% of patients by the first and second radiologist, respectively. Tumor visibility was graded higher with standard versus MARS reconstruction (grade, 3.7 ± 1.0 vs 2.8 ± 1.1; P = .001). Reduction of blooming was noted on MARS-reconstructed images (P = .01). Amount of artifacts, for both any and near field, was significantly smaller on sagittal and coronal MARS-reconstructed images than on standard reconstructions (P < .001 for all comparisons). Far-field artifacts were more prominent on axial MARS-reconstructed images than on standard reconstructions (P < .01). Linear-weighted κ statistic showed moderate to perfect agreement between radiologists. CT number distribution was narrower with MARS than with standard reconstruction in 35 of 37 patients (P < .001).
Conclusion: Spectral CT with use of MARS improved tumor visibility in the vicinity of gold fiducial seeds.