Parallel-scanning tomosynthesis using a slot scanning technique: Fixed-focus reconstruction and the resulting image quality

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

Parallel-scanning tomosynthesis (PS-TS) is a novel technique that fuses the slot scanning technique and the conventional tomosynthesis (TS) technique. This approach allows one to obtain long-view tomosynthesis images in addition to normally sized tomosynthesis images, even when using a system that has no linear tomographic scanning function. The reconstruction technique and an evaluation of the resulting image quality for PS-TS are described in this paper.

Methods:

The PS-TS image-reconstruction technique consists of several steps (1) the projection images are divided into strips, (2) the strips are stitched together to construct images corresponding to the reconstruction plane, (3) the stitched images are filtered, and (4) the filtered stitched images are back-projected. In the case of PS-TS using the fixed-focus reconstruction method (PS-TS-F), one set of stitched images is used for the reconstruction planes at all heights, thus avoiding the necessity of repeating steps (1)–(3). A physical evaluation of the image quality of PS-TS-F compared with that of the conventional linear TS was performed using a R/F table (Sonialvision safire, Shimadzu Corp., Kyoto, Japan). The tomographic plane with the best theoretical spatial resolution (the in-focus plane, IFP) was set at a height of 100 mm from the table top by adjusting the reconstruction program. First, the spatial frequency response was evaluated at heights of −100, −50, 0, 50, 100, and 150 mm from the IFP using the edge of a 0.3-mm-thick copper plate. Second, the spatial resolution at each height was visually evaluated using an x-ray test pattern (Model No. 38, PTW Freiburg, Germany). Third, the slice sensitivity at each height was evaluated via the wire method using a 0.1-mm-diameter tungsten wire. Phantom studies using a knee phantom and a whole-body phantom were also performed.

Results:

The spatial frequency response of PS-TS-F yielded the best results at the IFP and degraded slightly as the distance from the IFP increased. A visual evaluation of the spatial resolution using the x-ray test pattern indicated that the resolution was 1.8 lp/mm at the IFP and 1.2 lp/mm at heights of −100 and 100 mm from the IFP. The authors demonstrated that a spatial resolution of 1.2–1.8 lp/mm could be obtained within heights of 200 mm of the IFP. The slice sensitivity varied between 11.1 and 13.8 mm for heights between −50 and 100 mm, and there was no critical change in the slice sensitivity within a height range of 150 mm around the IFP. The phantom results demonstrated that tomosynthesis and long-view images could be reconstructed.

Conclusions:

PS-TS-F provides tomosynthesis images while using low-cost systems that have no tomographic scanning function, such as tableside-controlled universal R/F systems or universal radiographic systems.

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