Purpose: The authors propose a combined scatter reduction and correction method to improve image quality in cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). Although using a beam-block approach similar to previous techniques to measure the scatter, this method differs in that the authors utilize partially blocked projection data obtained during scatter measurement for CBCT image reconstruction. This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed approach. Methods: A 1D grid, composed of lead septa, was placed between the radiation source and the imaging object for scatter measurement. Image data were collected from the grid interspace regions while the scatter distribution was measured in the blocked regions under the grid. Scatter correction was performed by subtracting the measured scatter from the imaging data. Image information in the penumbral regions of the grid was derived. Three imaging modes were developed to reconstruct full CBCT images from partial projection data. The single-rotation half-fan mode uses interpolation to fill the missing data. The dual-rotation half-fan mode uses two rotations, with the grid offset by half a grid cycle, to acquire two complementary sets of projections, which are then merged to form complete projections for reconstruction. The single-rotation full-fan mode was designed for imaging a small object or a region of interest. Full-fan projection images were acquired over a 360° scan angle with the grid shifting a distance during the scan. An enlarged Catphan phantom was used to evaluate potential improvement in image quality with the proposed technique. An anthropomorphic pelvis phantom was used to validate the feasibility of reconstructing a complete set of CBCT images from the partially blocked projections using three imaging modes. Rigid-body image registration was performed between the CBCT images from the single-rotation half-fan mode and the simulation CT and the results were compared to that for the CBCT images from dual-rotation mode and conventional CBCT images. Results: The proposed technique reduced the streak artifact index from 58% to 1% in comparison with the conventional CBCT. It also improved CT number linearity from 0.880 to 0.998 and the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) from 4.29 to 6.42. Complete sets of CBCT images with overall improved image quality were achieved for all three image modes. The longitudinal resolution was slightly compromised for the single-rotation half-fan mode. High resolution was retained for the dual-rotation half-fan and single-rotation full-fan modes in the longitudinal direction. The registration error for the CBCT images from the single-rotation half-fan mode was 0.8±0.3 mm in the longitudinal direction and negligible in the other directions. Conclusions: The proposed method provides combined scatter correction and direct scatter reduction. Scatter correction may eliminate scatter artifacts, while direct scatter reduction may improve the CNR to compensate the CNR degradation due to scatter correction. Complete sets of CBCT images are reconstructed in all three imaging modes. The single-rotation mode can be used for rigid-body patient alignment despite degradation in longitudinal resolution. The dual-rotation mode may be used to improve CBCT image quality for soft tissue delineation in adaptive radiation therapy.
- cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT)
- image artifact
- image quality
- scatter correction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging