Accuracy in breast shape alignment with 3D surface fitting algorithms



Surface imaging is in use in radiotherapy clinical practice for patient setup optimization and monitoring. Breast alignment is accomplished by searching for a tentative spatial correspondence between the reference and daily surface shape models. In this study, the authors quantify whole breast shape alignment by relying on texture features digitized on 3D surface models. Texture feature localization was validated through repeated measurements in a silicone breast phantom, mounted on a high precision mechanical stage. Clinical investigations on breast shape alignment included 133 fractions in 18 patients treated with accelerated partial breast irradiation. The breast shape was detected with a 3D video based surface imaging system so that breathing was compensated. An in-house algorithm for breast alignment, based on surface fitting constrained by nipple matching (constrained surface fitting), was applied. Results were compared with a commercial software where no constraints are utilized (unconstrained surface fitting). Texture feature localization was validated within 2 mm in each anatomical direction. Clinical data show that unconstrained surface fitting achieves adequate accuracy in most cases, though nipple mismatch is considerably higher than residual surface distances (3.9 mm vs 0.6 mm on average). Outliers beyond 1 cm can be experienced as the result of a degenerate surface fit, where unconstrained surface fitting is not sufficient to establish spatial correspondence. In the constrained surface fitting algorithm, average surface mismatch within 1 mm was obtained when nipple position was forced to match in the [1.5; 5] mm range. In conclusion, optimal results can be obtained by trading off the desired overall surface congruence vs matching of selected landmarks (constraint). Constrained surface fitting is put forward to represent an improvement in setup accuracy for those applications where whole breast positional reproducibility is an issue.