ABSTRACT: On-board cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) has recently become available to provide volumetric information of a patient in the treatment position, and holds promises for improved target localization and irradiation dose verification. The design of currently available on-board CBCT, however, is far from optimal. Its quality is adversely influenced by many factors, such as scatter, beam hardening, and intra-scanning organ motion. In this work we quantitatively study the influence of organ motion on CBCT imaging and investigate a strategy to acquire high quality phase-resolved [four-dimensional (4D)] CBCT images based on phase binning of the CBCT projection data. An efficient and robust method for binning CBCT data according to the patient's respiratory phase derived in the projection space was developed. The phase-binned projections were reconstructed using the conventional Feldkamp algorithm to yield 4D CBCT images. Both phantom and patient studies were carried out to validate the technique and to optimize the 4D CBCT data acquisition protocol. Several factors that are important to the clinical implementation of the technique, such as the image quality, scanning time, number of projections, and radiation dose, were analyzed for various scanning schemes. The general references drawn from this study are: (i) reliable phase binning of CBCT projections is accomplishable with the aid of external or internal marker and simple analysis of its trace in the projection space, and (ii) artifact-free 4D CBCT images can be obtained without increasing the patient radiation dose as compared to the current 3D CBCT scan.
Medical Physics 11/2006; 33(10):3825-33. · 2.83 Impact Factor