Title page for ETD etd-04132005-163806

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Nookala, Prashanth K
Author's Email Address pnooka1@lsu.edu
URN etd-04132005-163806
Title Modification of CT Quality Assurance Phantom for PET/CT Alignment and PET Resolution
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Physics & Astronomy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kenneth L. Matthews II Committee Chair
Oscar Hidalgo-Salvatierra Committee Co-Chair
Erno Sajo Committee Member
John P. Gibbons Committee Member
John P. Wefel Committee Member
  • CT quality assurance
  • image registration
  • PET/CT alignment
  • PET resolution
Date of Defense 2005-03-21
Availability unrestricted
Radiotherapy treatment planning utilizing PET and CT is rapidly gaining acceptance in oncology. A limiting factor of the dual modality is the PET/CT alignment. A small error in PET/CT alignment may result in giving large doses of radiation to healthy tissues as a result of poor treatment planning. For this purpose, regular quality assurance testing of PET/CT must be performed. Separate QA procedures and phantoms have been developed for the two different modalities. In particular, many existing phantoms cannot be used for both modalities, which is a requirement for evaluating PET/CT alignment. Our goal is to evaluate several existing phantom designs to evaluate their utility for checking PET/CT alignment. The three phantoms investigated are a Gammex 464 phantom, a Triple-Line Source PET phantom, and a Hot Sphere PET phantom. The PET phantoms are unmodified the Gammex 464 phantom is modified to perform PET/CT alignment. The Gammex 464 phantom is typically used for routine quality assurance of CT scanners. Several CT parameters are determined with this phantom before and after modification. Then PET/CT alignment testing is performed using this modified CT phantom and the two other phantoms. Three methods have been used for analyzing the PET/CT images to measure the PET/CT alignment errors. The methods are the Manual method which calculates the alignment error from hand-drawn profiles, the Maximum-Pixel Value method which measures the error based on the pixel value of the objects in the PET/CT images, and the Curve-fitting method, which measures the alignment error by getting the best fit values for the object profiles. The Curve-fitting method also estimates the PET resolution from apparent size of objects in the phantoms.

Our PET/CT alignment data and results suggest that the Maximum-Pixel Value method for the modified phantom with acrylic insert is a good choice for measuring the PET/CT alignment error, providing a reasonable balance between computational analysis effort and measurement precision.

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