Patient-specific motion artifacts in 4DCT

W. Tyler Watkins, Ruijiang Li, John Lewis, Justin C. Park, Ajay Sandhu, Steve B. Jiang, William Y. Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Purpose: Four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) has enhanced images of the thorax and upper abdomen during respiration, but intraphase residual motion artifacts will persist in cine-mode scanning. In this study, the source and magnitude of projection artifacts due to intraphase target motion is investigated. Methods: A theoretical model of geometric uncertainty due to partial projection artifacts in cine-mode 4DCT was derived based on ideal periodic motion. Predicted artifacts were compared to measured errors with a rigid lung phantom attached to a programmable motion platform. Ideal periodic motion and actual patient breathing patterns were used as input for phantom motion. Reconstructed target dimensions were measured along the direction of motion and compared to the actual, known dimensions. Results: Artifacts due to intraphase residual motion in cine-mode 4DCT range from a few mm up to a few cm on a given scanner, and can be predicted based on target motion and CT gantry rotation time. Errors in ITV and GTV dimensions were accurately characterized by the theoretical uncertainty at all phases when sinusoidal motion was considered, and in 96% of 300 measurements when patient breathing patterns were used as motion input. When peak-to-peak motion of 1.5 cm is combined with a breathing period of 4 s and gantry rotation time of 1 s, errors due to partial projection artifacts can be greater than 1 cm near midventilation and are a few mm in the inhale and exhale phases. Incorporation of such uncertainty into margin design should be considered in addition to other uncertainties. Conclusions: Artifacts due to intraphase residual motion exist in 4DCT, even for ideal breathing motions (e.g., sine waves). It was determined that these motion artifacts depend on patient-specific tumor motion and CT gantry rotation speed. Thus, if the patient-specific motion parameters are known (i.e., amplitude and period), a patient-specific margin can and should be designed to compensate for this uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2855-2861
Number of pages7
JournalMedical physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • 4DCT
  • Intrafraction motion
  • Lung cancer
  • Patient-specific margin
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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