Prospective regularization design in prior-image-based reconstruction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Prior-image-based reconstruction (PIBR) methods leveraging patient-specific anatomical information from previous imaging studies and/or sequences have demonstrated dramatic improvements in dose utilization and image quality for low-fidelity data. However, a proper balance of information from the prior images and information from the measurements is required (e.g. through careful tuning of regularization parameters). Inappropriate selection of reconstruction parameters can lead to detrimental effects including false structures and failure to improve image quality. Traditional methods based on heuristics are subject to error and sub-optimal solutions, while exhaustive searches require a large number of computationally intensive image reconstructions. In this work, we propose a novel method that prospectively estimates the optimal amount of prior image information for accurate admission of specific anatomical changes in PIBR without performing full image reconstructions. This method leverages an analytical approximation to the implicitly defined PIBR estimator, and introduces a predictive performance metric leveraging this analytical form and knowledge of a particular presumed anatomical change whose accurate reconstruction is sought. Additionally, since model-based PIBR approaches tend to be space-variant, a spatially varying prior image strength map is proposed to optimally admit changes everywhere in the image (eliminating the need to know change locations a priori). Studies were conducted in both an ellipse phantom and a realistic thorax phantom emulating a lung nodule surveillance scenario. The proposed method demonstrated accurate estimation of the optimal prior image strength while achieving a substantial computational speedup (about a factor of 20) compared to traditional exhaustive search. Moreover, the use of the proposed prior strength map in PIBR demonstrated accurate reconstruction of anatomical changes without foreknowledge of change locations in phantoms where the optimal parameters vary spatially by an order of magnitude or more. In a series of studies designed to explore potential unknowns associated with accurate PIBR, optimal prior image strength was found to vary with attenuation differences associated with anatomical change but exhibited only small variations as a function of the shape and size of the change. The results suggest that, given a target change attenuation, prospective patient-, change-, and data-specific customization of the prior image strength can be performed to ensure reliable reconstruction of specific anatomical changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9515-9536
Number of pages22
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 25 2015


  • CT reconstruction
  • dose reduction
  • image regularization
  • prior-image-based reconstruction
  • prospective design
  • shift variance
  • sparse data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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