Cone-beam CT with a flat-panel detector: From image science to image-guided surgery

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44 Scopus citations


The development of large-area flat-panel X-ray detectors (FPDs) has spurred investigation in a spectrum of advanced medical imaging applications, including tomosynthesis and cone-beam CT (CBCT). Recent research has extended image quality metrics and theoretical models to such applications, providing a quantitative foundation for the assessment of imaging performance as well as a general framework for the design, optimization, and translation of such technologies to new applications. For example, cascaded systems models of the Fourier domain metrics, such as noise-equivalent quanta (NEQ), have been extended to these modalities to describe the propagation of signal and noise through the image acquisition and reconstruction chain and to quantify the factors that govern spatial resolution, image noise, and detectability. Moreover, such models have demonstrated basic agreement with human observer performance for a broad range of imaging conditions and imaging tasks. These developments in image science have formed a foundation for the knowledgeable development and translation of CBCT to new applications in image-guided interventions - for example, CBCT implemented on a mobile surgical C-arm for intraoperative 3D imaging. The ability to acquire high-quality 3D images on demand during surgical intervention overcomes conventional limitations of surgical guidance in the context of preoperative images alone. A prototype mobile C-arm developed in academic-industry partnership demonstrates CBCT with low radiation dose, sub-mm spatial resolution, and soft-tissue visibility potentially approaching that of diagnostic CT. Integration of the 3D imaging system with real-time tracking, deformable registration, endoscopic video, and 3D visualization offers a promising addition to the surgical arsenal in interventions ranging from head-and-neck/skull base surgery to spine, orthopaedic, thoracic, and abdominal surgeries. Cadaver studies show the potential for significant boosts in surgical performance under CBCT guidance, and early clinical trials demonstrate feasibility, workflow, and image quality within the surgical theatre.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S241-S250
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Aug 21 2011


  • Computed tomography
  • Cone-beam CT
  • Flat-panel detectors
  • Image science
  • Image-guided surgery
  • Imaging physics
  • Surgical navigation
  • X-ray imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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