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The scanning beam digital x-ray system (SBDX) is an inverse geometry fluoroscopic system with high dose efficiency and the ability to perform continuous real-time tomosynthesis in multiple planes. This system could be used for image guidance during lung nodule biopsy. However, the reconstructed images suffer from strong out-of-plane artifact due to the small tomographic angle of the system.

The authors propose an out-of-plane artifact subtraction tomosynthesis (OPAST) algorithm that utilizes a prior CT volume to augment the run-time image processing. A blur-and-add (BAA) analytical model, derived from the project-to-backproject physical model, permits the generation of tomosynthesis images that are a good approximation to the shift-and-add (SAA) reconstructed image. A computationally practical algorithm is proposed to simulate images and out-of-plane artifacts from patient-specific prior CT volumes using the BAA model. A 3D image registration algorithm to align the simulated and reconstructed images is described. The accuracy of the BAA analytical model and the OPAST algorithm was evaluated using three lung cancer patients’ CT data. The OPAST and image registration algorithms were also tested with added nonrigid respiratory motions.

Image similarity measurements, including the correlation coefficient, mean squared error, and structural similarity index, indicated that the BAA model is very accurate in simulating the SAA images from the prior CT for the SBDX system. The shift-variant effect of the BAA model can be ignored when the shifts between SBDX images and CT volumes are within ±10 mm in the and directions. The nodule visibility and depth resolution are improved by subtracting simulated artifacts from the reconstructions. The image registration and OPAST are robust in the presence of added respiratory motions. The dominant artifacts in the subtraction images are caused by the mismatches between the real object and the prior CT volume.

Their proposed prior CT-augmented OPAST reconstruction algorithm improves lung nodule visibility and depth resolution for the SBDX system.


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