MRI/PET nonrigid breast-image registration using skin fiducial markers

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Conference Proceeding

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We propose a finite-element method (FEM) deformable breast model that does not require elastic breast data for nonrigid PET/MRI breast image registration. The model is applicable only if the stress conditions in the imaged breast are virtually the same in PET and MRI. Under these conditions, the observed intermodality displacements are solely due the imaging/reconstruction process. Similar stress conditions are assured by use of an MRI breast-antenna replica for breast support during PET, and use of the same positioning. The tetrahedral volume and triangular surface elements are used to construct the FEM mesh from the MRI image. Our model requires a number of fiducial skin markers (FSM) visible in PET and MRI. The displacement vectors of FSMs are measured followed by the dense displacement field estimation by first distributing the displacement vectors linearly over the breast surface and then distributing them throughout the volume. Finally, the floating MRI image is warped to a fixed PET image, by using an appropriate shape function in the interpolation from mesh nodes to voxels. We tested our model on an elastic breast phantom with simulated internal lesions and on a small number of patients imaged with FSM using PET and MRI. Using simulated lesions (in phantom) and real lesions (in patients) visible in both PET and MRI, we established that the target registration error (TRE) is below two pet voxels.

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Physica Medica

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