22 March 2012 Improved diagnostic differentiation of renal cystic lesions with phase-contrast computed tomography (PCCT)
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The diagnostic quality of phase-contrast computed tomography (PCCT) is one the unexplored areas in medical imaging; at the same time, it seems to offer the opportunity as a fast and highly sensitive diagnostic tool. Conventional computed tomography (CT) has had an enormous impact on medicine, while it is limited in soft-tissue contrast. One example that portrays this challenge is the differentiation between benign and malignant renal cysts. In this work we report on a feasibility study to determine the usefulness of PCCT in differentiation of renal cysts. A renal phantom was imaged with a grating-based PCCT system consisting of a standard rotating anode x-ray tube (40 kV, 70 mA) and a Pilatus II photoncounting detector (pixel size: 172 μm). The phantom is composed of a renal equivalent soft-tissue and cystic lesions grouped in non-enhancing cyst and hemorrhage series and an iodine enhancing series. The acquired projection images (absorption and phase-contrast) are reconstructed with a standard filtered backprojection algorithm. For evaluation both reconstructions are compared in respect to contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and subjective image quality. We found that with PCCT a significantly improved differentiation between hemorrhage renal cysts from contrast enhancing malignant cysts is possible. If comparing PCCT and CT with respect to CNR and SNR, PCCT shows significant improvements. In conclusion, PCCT has the potential to improve the diagnostics and characterization of renal cysts without using any contrast agents. These results in combination with a non-synchrotron setup indicate a future paradigm shift in diagnostic computed tomography.
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Peter B. Noel, Peter B. Noel, Marian Willner, Marian Willner, Alexander Fingerle, Alexander Fingerle, Julia Herzen, Julia Herzen, Daniela Münzel, Daniela Münzel, Dieter Hahn, Dieter Hahn, Ernst J. Rummeny, Ernst J. Rummeny, Franz Pfeiffer, Franz Pfeiffer, "Improved diagnostic differentiation of renal cystic lesions with phase-contrast computed tomography (PCCT)", Proc. SPIE 8313, Medical Imaging 2012: Physics of Medical Imaging, 83130M (22 March 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.911172; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.911172

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