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Title: Segmentation-free empirical beam hardening correction for CT

Purpose: The polychromatic nature of the x-ray beams and their effects on the reconstructed image are often disregarded during standard image reconstruction. This leads to cupping and beam hardening artifacts inside the reconstructed volume. To correct for a general cupping, methods like water precorrection exist. They correct the hardening of the spectrum during the penetration of the measured object only for the major tissue class. In contrast, more complex artifacts like streaks between dense objects need other techniques of correction. If using only the information of one single energy scan, there are two types of corrections. The first one is a physical approach. Thereby, artifacts can be reproduced and corrected within the original reconstruction by using assumptions in a polychromatic forward projector. These assumptions could be the used spectrum, the detector response, the physical attenuation and scatter properties of the intersected materials. A second method is an empirical approach, which does not rely on much prior knowledge. This so-called empirical beam hardening correction (EBHC) and the previously mentioned physical-based technique are both relying on a segmentation of the present tissues inside the patient. The difficulty thereby is that beam hardening by itself, scatter, and other effects, which diminish the imagemore » quality also disturb the correct tissue classification and thereby reduce the accuracy of the two known classes of correction techniques. The herein proposed method works similar to the empirical beam hardening correction but does not require a tissue segmentation and therefore shows improvements on image data, which are highly degraded by noise and artifacts. Furthermore, the new algorithm is designed in a way that no additional calibration or parameter fitting is needed. Methods: To overcome the segmentation of tissues, the authors propose a histogram deformation of their primary reconstructed CT image. This step is essential for the proposed algorithm to be segmentation-free (sf). This deformation leads to a nonlinear accentuation of higher CT-values. The original volume and the gray value deformed volume are monochromatically forward projected. The two projection sets are then monomially combined and reconstructed to generate sets of basis volumes which are used for correction. This is done by maximization of the image flatness due to adding additionally a weighted sum of these basis images. sfEBHC is evaluated on polychromatic simulations, phantom measurements, and patient data. The raw data sets were acquired by a dual source spiral CT scanner, a digital volume tomograph, and a dual source micro CT. Different phantom and patient data were used to illustrate the performance and wide range of usability of sfEBHC across different scanning scenarios. The artifact correction capabilities are compared to EBHC. Results: All investigated cases show equal or improved image quality compared to the standard EBHC approach. The artifact correction is capable of correcting beam hardening artifacts for different scan parameters and scan scenarios. Conclusions: sfEBHC generates beam hardening-reduced images and is furthermore capable of dealing with images which are affected by high noise and strong artifacts. The algorithm can be used to recover structures which are hardly visible inside the beam hardening-affected regions.« less
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  1. German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, Heidelberg 69120 (Germany)
  2. Sirona Dental Systems GmbH, Fabrikstraße 31, 64625 Bensheim (Germany)
  3. German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 42; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: (c) 2015 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States