MO-G-17A-03: MR-Based Cortical Bone Segmentation for PET Attenuation Correction with a Non-UTE 3D Fast GRE Sequence

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine the feasibility of identifying cortical bone on MR images with a short-TE 3D fast-GRE sequence for attenuation correction of PET data in PET/MR.

Methods:

A water-fat-bone phantom was constructed with two pieces of beef shank. MR scans were performed on a 3T MR scanner (GE Discovery™ MR750). A 3D GRE sequence was first employed to measure the level of residual signal in cortical bone (TE1/TE2/TE3=2.2/4.4/6.6ms, TR=20ms, flip angle=25°). For cortical bone segmentation, a 3D fast-GRE sequence (TE/TR=0.7/1.9ms, acquisition voxel size=2.5×2.5×3mm3) was implemented along with a 3D Dixon sequence (TE1/TE2/TR=1.2/2.3/4.0ms, acquisition voxel size=1.25×1.25×3mm3) for water/fat imaging. Flip angle (10°), acquisition bandwidth (250kHz), FOV (480×480×144mm3) and reconstructed voxel size (0.94×0.94×1.5mm3) were kept the same for both sequences. Soft tissue and fat tissue were first segmented on the reconstructed water/fat image. A tissue mask was created by combining the segmented water/fat masks, which was then applied on the fast-GRE image (MRFGRE). A second mask was created to remove the Gibbs artifacts present in regions in close vicinity to the phantom. MRFGRE data was smoothed with a 3D anisotropic diffusion filter for noise reduction, after which cortical bone and air was separated using a threshold determined from the histogram.

Results:

There is signal in the cortical bone region in the 3D GRE images, indicating the possibility of separating cortical bone and air based on signal intensity from short-TE MR image. The acquisition time for the 3D fast-GRE sequence was 17s, which can be reduced to less than 10s with parallel imaging. The attenuation image created from water-fat-bone segmentation is visually similar compared to reference CT.

Conclusion:

Cortical bone and air can be separated based on intensity in MR image with a short-TE 3D fast-GRE sequence. Further research is required to optimize the strategy to reduce Gibbs artifacts.

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