Robust CT synthesis for radiotherapy planning: Application to the head and neck region
In this work, we propose to tackle the problem of magnetic resonance (MR)-based radiotherapy treatment planning in the head & neck area by synthesising computed tomography (CT) from MR images using an iterative multi-atlas approach. The proposed method relies on pre-acquired pairs of non-rigidly aligned T2-weighted MRI and CT images of the neck. To synthesise a pseudo CT, all the MRIs in the database are first registered to the target MRI using a robust affine followed by a deformable registration. An initial pseudo CT is obtained by fusing the mapped atlases according to their morphological similarity to the target. This initial pseudo CT is then combined with the target MR image in order to improve both the registration and fusion stages and refine the synthesis in the bone region. Results showed that the proposed iterative CT synthesis algorithm is able to generate pseudo CT images in a challenging region for registration algorithms. We demonstrate that the robust affine decreases the overall absolute error compared to a single affine transformation, mainly in images with small axial field-of-view, whilst the bone refinement process further reduces the error in the bone region, increasing image sharpness.