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Performance evaluation of a micro‐CT system for laboratory animal imaging with iterative reconstruction capabilities

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Abstract
Background In recent years, there has been a rapid proliferation in micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) systems becoming more available for routine preclinical research, with applications in many areas, including bone, lung, cancer, and cardiac imaging. Micro-CT provides the means to non-invasively acquire detailed anatomical information, but high-resolution imaging comes at the cost of longer scan times and higher doses, which is not desirable given the potential risks related to x-ray radiation. To achieve dose reduction and higher throughputs without compromising image quality, fewer projections can be acquired. This is where iterative reconstruction methods can have the potential to reduce noise since these algorithms can better handle sparse projection data, compared to filtered backprojection Purpose We evaluate the performance characteristics of a compact benchtop micro-CT scanner that provides iterative reconstruction capabilities with GPU-based acceleration. We thereby investigate the potential benefit of iterative reconstruction for dose reduction. Methods Based on a series of phantom experiments, the benchtop micro-CT system was characterized in terms of image uniformity, noise, low contrast detectability, linearity, and spatial resolution. Whole-body images of a plasticized ex vivo mouse phantom were also acquired. Different acquisition protocols (general-purpose versus high-resolution, including low dose scans) and different reconstruction strategies (analytic versus iterative algorithms: FDK, ISRA, ISRA-TV) were compared. Results Signal uniformity was maintained across the radial and axial field-of-view (no cupping effect) with an average difference in Hounsfield units (HU) between peripheral and central regions below 50. For low contrast detectability, regions with at least increment HU of 40 to surrounding material could be discriminated (for rods of 2.5 mm diameter). A high linear correlation (R-2 = 0.997) was found between measured CT values and iodine concentrations (0-40 mg/ml). Modulation transfer function (MTF) calculations on a wire phantom evaluated a resolution of 10.2 lp/mm at 10% MTF that was consistent with the 8.3% MTF measured on the 50 mu m bars (10 lp/mm) of a bar-pattern phantom. Noteworthy changes in signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise values were found for different acquisition and reconstruction protocols. Our results further showed the potential of iterative reconstruction to deliver images with less noise and artefacts. Conclusions In summary, the micro-CT system that was evaluated in the present work was shown to provide a good combination of performance characteristics between image uniformity, low contrast detectability, and resolution in short scan times. With the iterative reconstruction capabilities of this micro-CT system in mind (ISRA and ISRA-TV), the adoption of such algorithms by GPU-based acceleration enables the integration of noise reduction methods which here demonstrated potential for high-quality imaging at reduced doses.
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General Medicine

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MLA
Muller, Florence Marie, et al. “Performance Evaluation of a Micro‐CT System for Laboratory Animal Imaging with Iterative Reconstruction Capabilities.” MEDICAL PHYSICS, 2022, doi:10.1002/mp.15538.
APA
Muller, F. M., Vanhove, C., Vandeghinste, B., & Vandenberghe, S. (2022). Performance evaluation of a micro‐CT system for laboratory animal imaging with iterative reconstruction capabilities. MEDICAL PHYSICS. https://doi.org/10.1002/mp.15538
Chicago author-date
Muller, Florence Marie, Christian Vanhove, Bert Vandeghinste, and Stefaan Vandenberghe. 2022. “Performance Evaluation of a Micro‐CT System for Laboratory Animal Imaging with Iterative Reconstruction Capabilities.” MEDICAL PHYSICS. https://doi.org/10.1002/mp.15538.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Muller, Florence Marie, Christian Vanhove, Bert Vandeghinste, and Stefaan Vandenberghe. 2022. “Performance Evaluation of a Micro‐CT System for Laboratory Animal Imaging with Iterative Reconstruction Capabilities.” MEDICAL PHYSICS. doi:10.1002/mp.15538.
Vancouver
1.
Muller FM, Vanhove C, Vandeghinste B, Vandenberghe S. Performance evaluation of a micro‐CT system for laboratory animal imaging with iterative reconstruction capabilities. MEDICAL PHYSICS. 2022;
IEEE
[1]
F. M. Muller, C. Vanhove, B. Vandeghinste, and S. Vandenberghe, “Performance evaluation of a micro‐CT system for laboratory animal imaging with iterative reconstruction capabilities,” MEDICAL PHYSICS, 2022.
@article{8741253,
  abstract     = {{Background In recent years, there has been a rapid proliferation in micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) systems becoming more available for routine preclinical research, with applications in many areas, including bone, lung, cancer, and cardiac imaging. Micro-CT provides the means to non-invasively acquire detailed anatomical information, but high-resolution imaging comes at the cost of longer scan times and higher doses, which is not desirable given the potential risks related to x-ray radiation. To achieve dose reduction and higher throughputs without compromising image quality, fewer projections can be acquired. This is where iterative reconstruction methods can have the potential to reduce noise since these algorithms can better handle sparse projection data, compared to filtered backprojection Purpose We evaluate the performance characteristics of a compact benchtop micro-CT scanner that provides iterative reconstruction capabilities with GPU-based acceleration. We thereby investigate the potential benefit of iterative reconstruction for dose reduction. Methods Based on a series of phantom experiments, the benchtop micro-CT system was characterized in terms of image uniformity, noise, low contrast detectability, linearity, and spatial resolution. Whole-body images of a plasticized ex vivo mouse phantom were also acquired. Different acquisition protocols (general-purpose versus high-resolution, including low dose scans) and different reconstruction strategies (analytic versus iterative algorithms: FDK, ISRA, ISRA-TV) were compared. Results Signal uniformity was maintained across the radial and axial field-of-view (no cupping effect) with an average difference in Hounsfield units (HU) between peripheral and central regions below 50. For low contrast detectability, regions with at least increment HU of 40 to surrounding material could be discriminated (for rods of 2.5 mm diameter). A high linear correlation (R-2 = 0.997) was found between measured CT values and iodine concentrations (0-40 mg/ml). Modulation transfer function (MTF) calculations on a wire phantom evaluated a resolution of 10.2 lp/mm at 10% MTF that was consistent with the 8.3% MTF measured on the 50 mu m bars (10 lp/mm) of a bar-pattern phantom. Noteworthy changes in signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise values were found for different acquisition and reconstruction protocols. Our results further showed the potential of iterative reconstruction to deliver images with less noise and artefacts. Conclusions In summary, the micro-CT system that was evaluated in the present work was shown to provide a good combination of performance characteristics between image uniformity, low contrast detectability, and resolution in short scan times. With the iterative reconstruction capabilities of this micro-CT system in mind (ISRA and ISRA-TV), the adoption of such algorithms by GPU-based acceleration enables the integration of noise reduction methods which here demonstrated potential for high-quality imaging at reduced doses.}},
  author       = {{Muller, Florence Marie and Vanhove, Christian and Vandeghinste, Bert and Vandenberghe, Stefaan}},
  issn         = {{0094-2405}},
  journal      = {{MEDICAL PHYSICS}},
  keywords     = {{General Medicine}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  title        = {{Performance evaluation of a micro‐CT system for laboratory animal imaging with iterative reconstruction capabilities}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mp.15538}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}

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