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Title: SU-F-I-41: Calibration-Free Material Decomposition for Dual-Energy CT

Abstract

Purpose: To eliminate tedious phantom calibration or manually region of interest (ROI) selection as required in dual-energy CT material decomposition, we establish a new projection-domain material decomposition framework with incorporation of energy spectrum. Methods: Similar to the case of dual-energy CT, the integral of the basis material image in our model is expressed as a linear combination of basis functions, which are the polynomials of high- and low-energy raw projection data. To yield the unknown coefficients of the linear combination, the proposed algorithm minimizes the quadratic error between the high- and low-energy raw projection data and the projection calculated using material images. We evaluate the algorithm with an iodine concentration numerical phantom at different dose and iodine concentration levels. The x-ray energy spectra of the high and low energy are estimated using an indirect transmission method. The derived monochromatic images are compared with the high- and low-energy CT images to demonstrate beam hardening artifacts reduction. Quantitative results were measured and compared to the true values. Results: The differences between the true density value used for simulation and that were obtained from the monochromatic images, are 1.8%, 1.3%, 2.3%, and 2.9% for the dose levels from standard dose to 1/8 dose,more » and are 0.4%, 0.7%, 1.5%, and 1.8% for the four iodine concentration levels from 6 mg/mL to 24 mg/mL. For all of the cases, beam hardening artifacts, especially streaks shown between dense inserts, are almost completely removed in the monochromatic images. Conclusion: The proposed algorithm provides an effective way to yield material images and artifacts-free monochromatic images at different dose levels without the need for phantom calibration or ROI selection. Furthermore, the approach also yields accurate results when the concentration of the iodine concentrate insert is very low, suggesting the algorithm is robust with respect to the low-contrast scenario.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]; ;  [4]
  1. Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, Hubei (China)
  2. Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA (United States)
  3. Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei (China)
  4. Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and, New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22626800
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: (c) 2016 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOSIMETRY; ABUNDANCE; ALGORITHMS; BIOMEDICAL RADIOGRAPHY; CALIBRATION; COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY; CONCENTRATION RATIO; DECOMPOSITION; ENERGY SPECTRA; IMAGE PROCESSING; IMAGES; IODINE; MONOCHROMATIC RADIATION; PHANTOMS; POLYNOMIALS

Citation Formats

Zhao, W, Xing, L, Zhang, Q, Xiong, G, and Min, J. SU-F-I-41: Calibration-Free Material Decomposition for Dual-Energy CT. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1118/1.4955869.
Zhao, W, Xing, L, Zhang, Q, Xiong, G, & Min, J. SU-F-I-41: Calibration-Free Material Decomposition for Dual-Energy CT. United States. doi:10.1118/1.4955869.
Zhao, W, Xing, L, Zhang, Q, Xiong, G, and Min, J. 2016. "SU-F-I-41: Calibration-Free Material Decomposition for Dual-Energy CT". United States. doi:10.1118/1.4955869.
@article{osti_22626800,
title = {SU-F-I-41: Calibration-Free Material Decomposition for Dual-Energy CT},
author = {Zhao, W and Xing, L and Zhang, Q and Xiong, G and Min, J},
abstractNote = {Purpose: To eliminate tedious phantom calibration or manually region of interest (ROI) selection as required in dual-energy CT material decomposition, we establish a new projection-domain material decomposition framework with incorporation of energy spectrum. Methods: Similar to the case of dual-energy CT, the integral of the basis material image in our model is expressed as a linear combination of basis functions, which are the polynomials of high- and low-energy raw projection data. To yield the unknown coefficients of the linear combination, the proposed algorithm minimizes the quadratic error between the high- and low-energy raw projection data and the projection calculated using material images. We evaluate the algorithm with an iodine concentration numerical phantom at different dose and iodine concentration levels. The x-ray energy spectra of the high and low energy are estimated using an indirect transmission method. The derived monochromatic images are compared with the high- and low-energy CT images to demonstrate beam hardening artifacts reduction. Quantitative results were measured and compared to the true values. Results: The differences between the true density value used for simulation and that were obtained from the monochromatic images, are 1.8%, 1.3%, 2.3%, and 2.9% for the dose levels from standard dose to 1/8 dose, and are 0.4%, 0.7%, 1.5%, and 1.8% for the four iodine concentration levels from 6 mg/mL to 24 mg/mL. For all of the cases, beam hardening artifacts, especially streaks shown between dense inserts, are almost completely removed in the monochromatic images. Conclusion: The proposed algorithm provides an effective way to yield material images and artifacts-free monochromatic images at different dose levels without the need for phantom calibration or ROI selection. Furthermore, the approach also yields accurate results when the concentration of the iodine concentrate insert is very low, suggesting the algorithm is robust with respect to the low-contrast scenario.},
doi = {10.1118/1.4955869},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 6,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 6
}
  • Purpose: Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) makes it possible to get two fractions of basis materials without segmentation. One is the soft-tissue equivalent water fraction and the other is the hard-matter equivalent bone fraction. Practical DECT measurements are usually obtained with polychromatic x-ray beams. Existing reconstruction approaches based on linear forward models without counting the beam polychromaticity fail to estimate the correct decomposition fractions and result in beam-hardening artifacts (BHA). The existing BHA correction approaches either need to refer to calibration measurements or suffer from the noise amplification caused by the negative-log preprocessing and the ill-conditioned water and bone separation problem.more » To overcome these problems, statistical DECT reconstruction approaches based on nonlinear forward models counting the beam polychromaticity show great potential for giving accurate fraction images.Methods: This work proposes a full-spectral Bayesian reconstruction approach which allows the reconstruction of high quality fraction images from ordinary polychromatic measurements. This approach is based on a Gaussian noise model with unknown variance assigned directly to the projections without taking negative-log. Referring to Bayesian inferences, the decomposition fractions and observation variance are estimated by using the joint maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimation method. Subject to an adaptive prior model assigned to the variance, the joint estimation problem is then simplified into a single estimation problem. It transforms the joint MAP estimation problem into a minimization problem with a nonquadratic cost function. To solve it, the use of a monotone conjugate gradient algorithm with suboptimal descent steps is proposed.Results: The performance of the proposed approach is analyzed with both simulated and experimental data. The results show that the proposed Bayesian approach is robust to noise and materials. It is also necessary to have the accurate spectrum information about the source-detector system. When dealing with experimental data, the spectrum can be predicted by a Monte Carlo simulator. For the materials between water and bone, less than 5% separation errors are observed on the estimated decomposition fractions.Conclusions: The proposed approach is a statistical reconstruction approach based on a nonlinear forward model counting the full beam polychromaticity and applied directly to the projections without taking negative-log. Compared to the approaches based on linear forward models and the BHA correction approaches, it has advantages in noise robustness and reconstruction accuracy.« less
  • Purpose: A general problem of dual-energy CT (DECT) is that the decomposition is sensitive to noise in the two sets of dual-energy projection data, resulting in severely degraded qualities of decomposed images. We have previously proposed an iterative denoising method for DECT. Using a linear decomposition function, the method does not gain the full benefits of DECT on beam-hardening correction. In this work, we expand the framework of our iterative method to include non-linear decomposition models for noise suppression in DECT. Methods: We first obtain decomposed projections, which are free of beam-hardening artifacts, using a lookup table pre-measured on amore » calibration phantom. First-pass material images with high noise are reconstructed from the decomposed projections using standard filter-backprojection reconstruction. Noise on the decomposed images is then suppressed by an iterative method, which is formulated in the form of least-square estimation with smoothness regularization. Based on the design principles of a best linear unbiased estimator, we include the inverse of the estimated variance-covariance matrix of the decomposed images as the penalty weight in the least-square term. Analytical formulae are derived to compute the variance-covariance matrix from the measured decomposition lookup table. Results: We have evaluated the proposed method via phantom studies. Using non-linear decomposition, our method effectively suppresses the streaking artifacts of beam-hardening and obtains more uniform images than our previous approach based on a linear model. The proposed method reduces the average noise standard deviation of two basis materials by one order of magnitude without sacrificing the spatial resolution. Conclusion: We propose a general framework of iterative denoising for material decomposition of DECT. Preliminary phantom studies have shown the proposed method improves the image uniformity and reduces noise level without resolution loss. In the future, we will perform more phantom studies to further validate the performance of the purposed method. This work is supported by a Varian MRA grant.« less
  • Purpose: To significantly improve dual energy CT (DECT) imaging by establishing a new theoretical framework of image-domain material decomposition with incorporation of edge-preserving techniques. Methods: The proposed algorithm, HYPR-NLM, combines the edge-preserving non-local mean filter (NLM) with the HYPR-LR (Local HighlY constrained backPRojection Reconstruction) framework. Image denoising using HYPR-LR framework depends on the noise level of the composite image which is the average of the different energy images. For DECT, the composite image is the average of high- and low-energy images. To further reduce noise, one may want to increase the window size of the filter of the HYPR-LR, leadingmore » resolution degradation. By incorporating the NLM filtering and the HYPR-LR framework, HYPR-NLM reduces the boost material decomposition noise using energy information redundancies as well as the non-local mean. We demonstrate the noise reduction and resolution preservation of the algorithm with both iodine concentration numerical phantom and clinical patient data by comparing the HYPR-NLM algorithm to the direct matrix inversion, HYPR-LR and iterative image-domain material decomposition (Iter-DECT). Results: The results show iterative material decomposition method reduces noise to the lowest level and provides improved DECT images. HYPR-NLM significantly reduces noise while preserving the accuracy of quantitative measurement and resolution. For the iodine concentration numerical phantom, the averaged noise levels are about 2.0, 0.7, 0.2 and 0.4 for direct inversion, HYPR-LR, Iter- DECT and HYPR-NLM, respectively. For the patient data, the noise levels of the water images are about 0.36, 0.16, 0.12 and 0.13 for direct inversion, HYPR-LR, Iter-DECT and HYPR-NLM, respectively. Difference images of both HYPR-LR and Iter-DECT show edge effect, while no significant edge effect is shown for HYPR-NLM, suggesting spatial resolution is well preserved for HYPR-NLM. Conclusion: HYPR-NLM provides an effective way to reduce the generic magnified image noise of dual–energy material decomposition while preserving resolution. This work is supported in part by NIH grants 7R01HL111141 and 1R01-EB016777. This work is also supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Grant No. 81201091), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities in China, and Fund Project for Excellent Abroad Scholar Personnel in Science and Technology.« less
  • Purpose: As a general problem of dual-energy CT (DECT), noise amplification in material decomposition severely reduces the signal-to-noise ratio on the decomposed images compared to that on the original CT images. In this work, the authors propose a general framework of noise suppression in material decomposition for DECT. The method is based on an iterative algorithm recently developed in their group for image-domain decomposition of DECT, with an extension to include nonlinear decomposition models. The generalized framework of iterative DECT decomposition enables beam-hardening correction with simultaneous noise suppression, which improves the clinical benefits of DECT. Methods: The authors propose tomore » suppress noise on the decomposed images of DECT using convex optimization, which is formulated in the form of least-squares estimation with smoothness regularization. Based on the design principles of a best linear unbiased estimator, the authors include the inverse of the estimated variance–covariance matrix of the decomposed images as the penalty weight in the least-squares term. Analytical formulas are derived to compute the variance–covariance matrix for decomposed images with general-form numerical or analytical decomposition. As a demonstration, the authors implement the proposed algorithm on phantom data using an empirical polynomial function of decomposition measured on a calibration scan. The polynomial coefficients are determined from the projection data acquired on a wedge phantom, and the signal decomposition is performed in the projection domain. Results: On the Catphan{sup ®}600 phantom, the proposed noise suppression method reduces the average noise standard deviation of basis material images by one to two orders of magnitude, with a superior performance on spatial resolution as shown in comparisons of line-pair images and modulation transfer function measurements. On the synthesized monoenergetic CT images, the noise standard deviation is reduced by a factor of 2–3. By using nonlinear decomposition on projections, the authors’ method effectively suppresses the streaking artifacts of beam hardening and obtains more uniform images than their previous approach based on a linear model. Similar performance of noise suppression is observed in the results of an anthropomorphic head phantom and a pediatric chest phantom generated by the proposed method. With beam-hardening correction enabled by their approach, the image spatial nonuniformity on the head phantom is reduced from around 10% on the original CT images to 4.9% on the synthesized monoenergetic CT image. On the pediatric chest phantom, their method suppresses image noise standard deviation by a factor of around 7.5, and compared with linear decomposition, it reduces the estimation error of electron densities from 33.3% to 8.6%. Conclusions: The authors propose a general framework of noise suppression in material decomposition for DECT. Phantom studies have shown the proposed method improves the image uniformity and the accuracy of electron density measurements by effective beam-hardening correction and reduces noise level without noticeable resolution loss.« less
  • Calcium concentration may be a useful feature for distinguishing benign from malignant lung nodules in computer-aided diagnosis. The calcium concentration can be estimated from the measured CT number of the nodule and a CT number vs calcium concentration calibration line that is derived from CT scans of two or more calcium reference standards. To account for CT number nonuniformity in the reconstruction field, such calibration lines may be obtained at multiple locations within lung regions in an anthropomorphic phantom. The authors performed a study to investigate the effects of patient body size, anatomic region, and calibration nodule size on themore » derived calibration lines at ten lung region positions using both single energy (SE) and dual energy (DE) CT techniques. Simulated spherical lung nodules of two concentrations (50 and 100 mg/cc CaCO{sub 3}) were employed. Nodules of three different diameters (4.8, 9.5, and 16 mm) were scanned in a simulated thorax section representing the middle of the chest with large lung regions. The 4.8 and 9.5 mm nodules were also scanned in a section representing the upper chest with smaller lung regions. Fat rings were added to the peripheries of the phantoms to simulate larger patients. Scans were acquired on a GE-VCT scanner at 80, 120, and 140 kVp and were repeated three times for each condition. The average absolute CT number separations between the calibration lines were computed. In addition, under- or overestimates were determined when the calibration lines for one condition (e.g., small patient) were used to estimate the CaCO{sub 3} concentrations of nodules for a different condition (e.g., large patient). The authors demonstrated that, in general, DE is a more accurate method for estimating the calcium contents of lung nodules. The DE calibration lines within the lung field were less affected by patient body size, calibration nodule size, and nodule position than the SE calibration lines. Under- or overestimates in CaCO{sub 3} concentrations of nodules were also in general smaller in quantity with DE than with SE. However, because the slopes of the calibration lines for DE were about one-half the slopes for SE, the relative improvement in the concentration estimates for DE as compared to SE was about one-half the relative improvement in the separation between the calibration lines. Results in the middle of the chest thorax section with large lungs were nearly completely consistent with the above generalization. On the other hand, results in the upper-chest thorax section with smaller lungs and greater amounts of muscle and bone were mixed. A repeat of the entire study in the upper thorax section yielded similar mixed results. Most of the inconsistencies occurred for the 4.8 mm nodules and may be attributed to errors caused by beam hardening, volume averaging, and insufficient sampling. Targeted, higher resolution reconstructions of the smaller nodules, application of high atomic number filters to the high energy x-ray beam for improved spectral separation, and other future developments in DECT may alleviate these problems and further substantiate the superior accuracy of DECT in quantifying the calcium concentrations of lung nodules.« less