Fast internal marker tracking algorithm for onboard MV and kV imaging systems

W. Mao, R. D. Wiersma, L. Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Intrafraction organ motion can limit the advantage of highly conformal dose techniques such as intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) due to target position uncertainty. To ensure high accuracy in beam targeting, real-time knowledge of the target location is highly desired throughout the beam delivery process. This knowledge can be gained through imaging of internally implanted radio-opaque markers with fluoroscopic or electronic portal imaging devices (EPID). In the case of MV based images, marker detection can be problematic due to the significantly lower contrast between different materials in comparison to their kV-based counterparts. This work presents a fully automated algorithm capable of detecting implanted metallic markers in both kV and MV images with high consistency. Using prior CT information, the algorithm predefines the volumetric search space without manual region-of-interest (ROI) selection by the user. Depending on the template selected, both spherical and cylindrical markers can be detected. Multiple markers can be simultaneously tracked without indexing confusion. Phantom studies show detection success rates of 100% for both kV and MV image data. In addition, application of the algorithm to real patient image data results in successful detection of all implanted markers for MV images. Near real-time operational speeds of ∼10 framessec for the detection of five markers in a 1024×768 image are accomplished using an ordinary PC workstation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1942-1949
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • Fiducial tracking
  • IGRT
  • Image guidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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