Super-resolution reconstruction for 4D computed tomography of the lung via the projections onto convex sets approach

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

The use of 4D computed tomography (4D-CT) of the lung is important in lung cancer radiotherapy for tumor localization and treatment planning. Sometimes, dense sampling is not acquired along the superior–inferior direction. This disadvantage results in an interslice thickness that is much greater than in-plane voxel resolutions. Isotropic resolution is necessary for multiplanar display, but the commonly used interpolation operation blurs images. This paper presents a super-resolution (SR) reconstruction method to enhance 4D-CT resolution.

Methods:

The authors assume that the low-resolution images of different phases at the same position can be regarded as input “frames” to reconstruct high-resolution images. The SR technique is used to recover high-resolution images. Specifically, the Demons deformable registration algorithm is used to estimate the motion field between different “frames.” Then, the projection onto convex sets approach is implemented to reconstruct high-resolution lung images.

Results:

The performance of the SR algorithm is evaluated using both simulated and real datasets. Their method can generate clearer lung images and enhance image structure compared with cubic spline interpolation and back projection (BP) method. Quantitative analysis shows that the proposed algorithm decreases the root mean square error by 40.8% relative to cubic spline interpolation and 10.2% versus BP.

Conclusions:

A new algorithm has been developed to improve the resolution of 4D-CT. The algorithm outperforms the cubic spline interpolation and BP approaches by producing images with markedly improved structural clarity and greatly reduced artifacts.

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