Attenuation correction synthesis for hybrid PET-MR scanners
The combination of functional and anatomical imaging technologies such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) has shown its value in the preclinical and clinical fields. In PET/CT hybrid acquisition systems, CT-derived attenuation maps enable a more accurate PET reconstruction. However, CT provides only very limited soft-tissue contrast and exposes the patient to an additional radiation dose. In comparison, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides good soft-tissue contrast and the ability to study functional activation and tissue microstructures, but does not directly provide patient-specific electron density maps for PET reconstruction. The aim of the proposed work is to improve PET/MR reconstruction by generating synthetic CTs and attenuation-maps. The synthetic images are generated through a multi-atlas information propagation scheme, locally matching the MRI-derived patient's morphology to a database of pre-acquired MRI/CT pairs. Results show improvements in CT synthesis and PET reconstruction accuracy when compared to a segmentation method using an Ultrashort-Echo-Time MRI sequence.