Technical note: development of a 3D printed subresolution sandwich phantom for validation of brain SPECT analysis

Ian S. Negus, Robin B. Holmes, Kirsty C. Jordan, David A. Nash, Gareth C. Thorne, Margaret Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Purpose: To make an adaptable, head shaped radionuclide phantom to simulate molecular imaging of the brain using clinical acquisition and reconstruction protocols. This will allow the characterization and correction of scanner characteristics, and improve the accuracy of clinical image analysis, including the application of databases of normal subjects.
Methods: A fused deposition modeling 3D printer was used to create a head shaped phantom made up of transaxial slabs, derived from a simulated MRI dataset. The attenuation of the printed polylactide (PLA), measured by means of the Hounsfield unit on CT scanning, was set to match that of the brain by adjusting the proportion of plastic filament and air (fill ratio). Transmission measurements were made to verify the attenuation of the printed slabs. The radionuclide distribution within the phantom was created by adding 99mTc pertechnetate to the ink cartridge of a paper printer and printing images of gray and white matter anatomy, segmented from the same MRI data. The complete subresolution sandwich phantom was assembled from alternate 3D printed slabs and radioactive paper sheets, and then imaged on a dual headed gamma camera to simulate an HMPAO SPECT scan.
Results: Reconstructions of phantom scans successfully used automated ellipse fitting to apply attenuation correction. This removed the variability inherent in manual application of attenuation correction and registration inherent in existing cylindrical phantom designs. The resulting images were assessed visually and by count profiles and found to be similar to those from an existing elliptical PMMA phantom.
Conclusions: The authors have demonstrated the ability to create physically realistic HMPAO SPECT simulations using a novel head-shaped 3D printed subresolution sandwich method phantom. The phantom can be used to validate all neurological SPECT imaging applications. A simple modification of the phantom design to use thinner slabs would make it suitable for use in PET.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5020
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Physics
Volume43
Issue number9
Early online date9 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2016

Fingerprint

Single-Photon Emission-Computed Tomography
Head
Radioisotopes
Brain
Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m
Printing
Ink
Gamma Cameras
Molecular Imaging
Polymethyl Methacrylate
Plastics
Anatomy
Air
Databases

Keywords

  • brain
  • single photon emission computed tomography
  • 3D printing
  • positron emission tomography
  • medical image reconstruction

Cite this

Negus, Ian S. ; Holmes, Robin B. ; Jordan, Kirsty C. ; Nash, David A. ; Thorne, Gareth C. ; Saunders, Margaret. / Technical note: development of a 3D printed subresolution sandwich phantom for validation of brain SPECT analysis. In: Medical Physics. 2016 ; Vol. 43, No. 9.
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Technical note: development of a 3D printed subresolution sandwich phantom for validation of brain SPECT analysis. / Negus, Ian S.; Holmes, Robin B.; Jordan, Kirsty C.; Nash, David A.; Thorne, Gareth C.; Saunders, Margaret.

In: Medical Physics, Vol. 43, No. 9, 5020, 30.09.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Holmes, Robin B.

AU - Jordan, Kirsty C.

AU - Nash, David A.

AU - Thorne, Gareth C.

AU - Saunders, Margaret

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Y1 - 2016/9/30

N2 - Purpose: To make an adaptable, head shaped radionuclide phantom to simulate molecular imaging of the brain using clinical acquisition and reconstruction protocols. This will allow the characterization and correction of scanner characteristics, and improve the accuracy of clinical image analysis, including the application of databases of normal subjects.Methods: A fused deposition modeling 3D printer was used to create a head shaped phantom made up of transaxial slabs, derived from a simulated MRI dataset. The attenuation of the printed polylactide (PLA), measured by means of the Hounsfield unit on CT scanning, was set to match that of the brain by adjusting the proportion of plastic filament and air (fill ratio). Transmission measurements were made to verify the attenuation of the printed slabs. The radionuclide distribution within the phantom was created by adding 99mTc pertechnetate to the ink cartridge of a paper printer and printing images of gray and white matter anatomy, segmented from the same MRI data. The complete subresolution sandwich phantom was assembled from alternate 3D printed slabs and radioactive paper sheets, and then imaged on a dual headed gamma camera to simulate an HMPAO SPECT scan.Results: Reconstructions of phantom scans successfully used automated ellipse fitting to apply attenuation correction. This removed the variability inherent in manual application of attenuation correction and registration inherent in existing cylindrical phantom designs. The resulting images were assessed visually and by count profiles and found to be similar to those from an existing elliptical PMMA phantom.Conclusions: The authors have demonstrated the ability to create physically realistic HMPAO SPECT simulations using a novel head-shaped 3D printed subresolution sandwich method phantom. The phantom can be used to validate all neurological SPECT imaging applications. A simple modification of the phantom design to use thinner slabs would make it suitable for use in PET.

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KW - 3D printing

KW - positron emission tomography

KW - medical image reconstruction

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