Metal artifact reduction strategies for improved attenuation correction in hybrid PET/CT imaging.
ABSTRACT Metallic implants are known to generate bright and dark streaking artifacts in x-ray computed tomography (CT) images, which in turn propagate to corresponding functional positron emission tomography (PET) images during the CT-based attenuation correction procedure commonly used on hybrid clinical PET/CT scanners. Therefore, visual artifacts and overestimation and/or underestimation of the tracer uptake in regions adjacent to metallic implants are likely to occur and as such, inaccurate quantification of the tracer uptake and potential erroneous clinical interpretation of PET images is expected. Accurate quantification of PET data requires metal artifact reduction (MAR) of the CT images prior to the application of the CT-based attenuation correction procedure. In this review, the origins of metallic artifacts and their impact on clinical PET/CT imaging are discussed. Moreover, a brief overview of proposed MAR methods and their advantages and drawbacks is presented. Although most of the presented MAR methods are mainly developed for diagnostic CT imaging, their potential application in PET/CT imaging is highlighted. The challenges associated with comparative evaluation of these methods in a clinical environment in the absence of a gold standard are also discussed.