Master of Science (MS)
Physics and Astronomy
Radiotherapy treatment planning utilizing PET and CT is rapidly gaining acceptance in oncology. A limiting factor of the dual modality is the PET/CT alignment. A small error in PET/CT alignment may result in giving large doses of radiation to healthy tissues as a result of poor treatment planning. For this purpose, regular quality assurance testing of PET/CT must be performed. Separate QA procedures and phantoms have been developed for the two different modalities. In particular, many existing phantoms cannot be used for both modalities, which is a requirement for evaluating PET/CT alignment. Our goal is to evaluate several existing phantom designs to evaluate their utility for checking PET/CT alignment. The three phantoms investigated are a Gammex 464 phantom, a Triple-Line Source PET phantom, and a Hot Sphere PET phantom. The PET phantoms are unmodified the Gammex 464 phantom is modified to perform PET/CT alignment. The Gammex 464 phantom is typically used for routine quality assurance of CT scanners. Several CT parameters are determined with this phantom before and after modification. Then PET/CT alignment testing is performed using this modified CT phantom and the two other phantoms. Three methods have been used for analyzing the PET/CT images to measure the PET/CT alignment errors. The methods are the Manual method which calculates the alignment error from hand-drawn profiles, the Maximum-Pixel Value method which measures the error based on the pixel value of the objects in the PET/CT images, and the Curve-fitting method, which measures the alignment error by getting the best fit values for the object profiles. The Curve-fitting method also estimates the PET resolution from apparent size of objects in the phantoms. Our PET/CT alignment data and results suggest that the Maximum-Pixel Value method for the modified phantom with acrylic insert is a good choice for measuring the PET/CT alignment error, providing a reasonable balance between computational analysis effort and measurement precision.
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Nookala, Prashanth K., "Modification of CT quality assurance phantom for PET/CT alignment and PET resolution" (2005). LSU Master's Theses. 4202.
Kenneth L. Matthews II