A fast poly-energetic iterative FBP algorithm.
The beam hardening (BH) effect can influence medical interpretations in two notable ways. First, high attenuation materials, such as bones, can induce strong artifacts, which severely deteriorate the image quality. Second, voxel values can significantly deviate from the real values, which can lead to unreliable quantitative evaluation results. Some iterative methods have been proposed to eliminate the BH effect, but they cannot be widely applied for clinical practice because of the slow computational speed. The purpose of this study was to develop a new fast and practical poly-energetic iterative filtered backward projection algorithm (piFBP). The piFBP is composed of a novel poly-energetic forward projection process and a robust FBP-type backward updating process. In the forward projection process, an adaptive base material decomposition method is presented, based on which diverse body tissues (e.g., lung, fat, breast, soft tissue, and bone) and metal implants can be incorporated to accurately evaluate poly-energetic forward projections. In the backward updating process, one robust and fast FBP-type backward updating equation with a smoothing kernel is introduced to avoid the noise accumulation in the iteration process and to improve the convergence properties. Two phantoms were designed to quantitatively validate our piFBP algorithm in terms of the beam hardening index (BIdx) and the noise index (NIdx). The simulation results showed that piFBP possessed fast convergence speed, as the images could be reconstructed within four iterations. The variation range of the BIdx's of various tissues across phantom size and spectrum were reduced from [-7.5, 17.5] for FBP to [-0.1, 0.1] for piFBP while the NIdx's were maintained in the same low level (about [0.3, 1.7]). When a metal implant presented in a complex phantom, piFBP still had excellent reconstruction performance, as the variation range of the BIdx's of body tissues were reduced from [-2.9, 15.9] for FBP to [-0.3, 0.3] for piFBP and the magnitude of the BIdx of the metal implant was reduced from 23.3 to 1.3. The proposed algorithm piFBP can effectively eliminate beam hardening artifacts caused by bones, greatly reduce metal artifacts caused by metal implants, and quantitatively reconstruct accurate images with poly-energetic spectrum. Its fast reconstruction speed and excellent performance make it ready for clinical applications on the current single spectrum CT scanners.
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