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Automatic arm removal in PET and CT images for deformable registration.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
0895-6111
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
30
Issue
8
Pages
469–477
Identifiers
PMID: 17084065
Source
Medline

Abstract

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is rapidly expanding its role in clinical practice for cancer management. The high sensitivity of PET for functional abnormalities associated with cancer can be confounded by the minimal anatomical information it provides for cancer localization. Computed tomography (CT) provides detailed anatomical information but is less sensitive to pathologies than PET. Thus, combining (i.e., registering) PET and CT images would enable both accurate and sensitive cancer localization with respect to detailed patient anatomy. An additional application area of registration is to align CT-CT scans from serial studies on a patient on a PET/CT scanner to facilitate accurate assessment of therapeutic response from the co-aligned PET images. To facilitate image fusion, we are developing a deformable registration software system using mutual information and a B-spline model of the deformation. When applying deformable registration to whole body images, one of the obstacles is that the arms are present in PET images but not in CT images or are in different positions in serial CT images. This feature mismatch requires a preprocessing step to remove the arms where present and thus adds a manual step in an otherwise automatic algorithm. In this paper, we present a simple yet effective method for automatic arm removal. We demonstrate the efficiency and robustness of this algorithm on both clinical PET and CT images. By streamlining the entire registration process, we expect that the fusion technology will soon find its way into clinics, greatly benefiting cancer diagnosis, staging, therapy planning and treatment monitoring.

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