Maximum-likelihood expectation-maximization algorithm for improved clinical SPECT scintimammography

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Conference Proceeding

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Conventional MLEM and OSEM algorithms used in SPECT Tc-99m sestamibi scintimammography produce hot spot artifacts (HSA). We investigated a suitable modification of MLEM and OSEM algorithms needed to reduce HSA. Patients with suspicious breast lesions were administered 10 mCi of Tc99m sestamibi and SPECT scans with patients in prone position with uncompressed breasts were acquired. In addition, to simulate breast lesions, some patients were imaged with a number of breast skin markers each containing 1 μCi of Tc-99m. We modified MLEM and OSEM algorithms by removing from the backprojection step the rays that traverse the periphery of the support region on the way to a detector bin when their path length trough this region is shorter than some preset critical length. Such very short paths result in a very low projection counts contributed to the detector bin and this in turn gives rise to a overestimation of the activity hi the peripheral voxels in the backprojection step, thus creating HSA. We analyzed the breastlesion contrast and suppression of HSA in the images reconstructed using conventional and modified MLEM and OSEM algorithms vs. critical path length (CPL). For CPL ≥ 0.01 pixel size, we observed improved breast-lesion contrast and lower noise in the images reconstructed, and a very significant reduction of HSA in the maximum intensity projection (MIP) images © 2004 IEEE.

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IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record

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