Transmission imaging for integrated PET-MR systems

Spencer L. Bowen, Niccoló Fuin, Michael A. Levine, Ciprian Catana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Attenuation correction for PET-MR systems continues to be a challenging problem, particularly for body regions outside the head. The simultaneous acquisition of transmission scan based μ-maps and MR images on integrated PET-MR systems may significantly increase the performance of and offer validation for new MR-based μ-map algorithms. For the Biograph mMR (Siemens Healthcare), however, use of conventional transmission schemes is not practical as the patient table and relatively small diameter scanner bore significantly restrict radioactive source motion and limit source placement. We propose a method for emission-free coincidence transmission imaging on the Biograph mMR. The intended application is not for routine subject imaging, but rather to improve and validate MR-based μ-map algorithms; particularly for patient implant and scanner hardware attenuation correction. In this study we optimized source geometry and assessed the method's performance with Monte Carlo simulations and phantom scans. We utilized a Bayesian reconstruction algorithm, which directly generates μ-map estimates from multiple bed positions, combined with a robust scatter correction method. For simulations with a pelvis phantom a single torus produced peak noise equivalent count rates (34.8 kcps) dramatically larger than a full axial length ring (11.32 kcps) and conventional rotating source configurations. Bias in reconstructed μ-maps for head and pelvis simulations was 4% for soft tissue and 11% for bone ROIs. An implementation of the single torus source was filled with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose and the proposed method quantified for several test cases alone or in comparison with CT-derived μ-maps. A volume average of 0.095 cm-1 was recorded for an experimental uniform cylinder phantom scan, while a bias of <2% was measured for the cortical bone equivalent insert of the multi-compartment phantom. Single torus μ-maps of a hip implant phantom showed significantly less artifacts and improved dynamic range, and differed greatly for highly attenuating materials in the case of the patient table, compared to CT results. Use of a fixed torus geometry, in combination with translation of the patient table to perform complete tomographic sampling, generated highly quantitative measured μ-maps and is expected to produce images with significantly higher SNR than competing fixed geometries at matched total acquisition time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5547-5568
Number of pages22
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 6 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • attenuation correction
  • pelvis imaging
  • positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance (PET-MR)
  • scatter correction
  • transmission acquisition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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