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J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2012 Jan 5;13(1):3607. doi: 10.1120/jacmp.v13i1.3607.

Image quality of an investigational imaging panel for use with the imaging beam line cone-beam CT.

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Department of Radiological Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


The purpose of this study was to measure and compare the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) as a function of dose for the cone-beam CT (CBCT) produced by the imaging beam line (IBL) for the standard and an investigational imaging panel. Two Siemens Artiste linear accelerators were modified at our institution such that the MV-CBCT would operate under an investigational IBL. The imaging panel from one of the machines was replaced with an investigational imaging panel. After the modification, a set of CBCT for a large and small phantom consisting of eight tissue-equivalent inserts was acquired for the standard imager and for the investigational imager with and without the standard copper plate. Ten dose settings for each phantom using the IBL in combination with the standard and investigational imaging panel were acquired. The CNR for each tissue-equivalent insert was calculated. Resolution measurements in line pairs per mm (lp/mm) of the CBCT for the various imaging panel setups were made. In addition, CBCT images of two patients that were imaged with each panel configuration were displayed for a group of physicians and therapists who were asked to identify the best and worst CBCT for each patient. This was used as a qualitative judge of practical image quality. The CNR of the muscle insert for the large phantom with 1.5 cGy at isocenter was 1.3 for the standard imager, 1.5 for the investigational imager with the copper plate, and 1.9 without the plate. Under the same conditions, the CNR of the trabecular bone insert was 5.9, 7.3, and 9.7, respectively. For the small phantom with the same dose to isocenter, the CNR for muscle was 1.7, 2.1, and 3.3, respectively. For the trabecular bone, the CNR was 8.1, 9.6, and 12.1 respectively. The resolution for 1 cGy at isocenter was 0.37 lp/mm for the standard imager, 0.32 and 0.33 for the investigational imager with and without the copper plate. The qualitative test ranked the CBCT of the investigational imager without the copper plate to be the best image, and the standard imager to be the worst. The investigational imaging panel improves image quality as compared to the standard imager for IBL CBCTs. A 1 cGy IBL CBCT, no matter which imager is used, is sufficient for bony anatomy localization. The investigational imager without the copper plate was judged clinically to produce the best IBL CBCT.

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