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A novel imaging technique for fusion of high-quality immobilised MR images of the head and neck with CT scans for radiotherapy target delineation.

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  • Medicine

Abstract

Uncertainty and inconsistency are observed in target volume delineation in the head and neck for radiotherapy treatment planning based only on CT imaging. Alternative modalities such as MRI have previously been incorporated into the delineation process to provide additional anatomical information. This work aims to improve on previous studies by combining good image quality with precise patient immobilisation in order to maintain patient position between scans. MR images were acquired using quadrature coils placed over the head and neck while the patient was immobilised in the treatment position using a five-point thermoplastic shell. The MR image and CT images were automatically fused in the Pinnacle treatment planning system using Syntegra software. Image quality, distortion and accuracy of the image registration using patient anatomy were evaluated. Image quality was found to be superior to that acquired using the body coil, while distortion was < 1.0 mm to a radius of 8.7 cm from the scan centre. Image registration accuracy was found to be 2.2 mm (+/- 0.9 mm) and < 3.0 degrees (n = 6). A novel MRI technique that combines good image quality with patient immobilization has been developed and is now in clinical use. The scan duration of approximately 15 min has been well tolerated by all patients.

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