Motion, like tumor movement due to respiration, constitutes a major problem in radiotherapy and/or diagnostics.
A common idea to compensate for the motion in 4D imaging, is to invoke a registration strategy, which aligns
the images over time. This approach is especially challenging if real time processing of the data and robustness
with respect to noise and acquisition errors is required.
To this end, we present a novel method which is based only on selected image features and uses a probabilistic
approach to compute the wanted transformations of the 3D images. Moreover, we restrict the search space to
rotation, translation and scaling.
In an initial phase, landmarks in the first image of the series have to be identified, which are in the course
of the scheme automatically transferred to the next image. To find the associated transformation parameters,
a probabilistic approach, based on factored sampling, is invoked. We start from a state set containing a fixed
number of different candidate parameters whose probabilities are approximated based on the image information
at the landmark positions. Subsequent time frames are analyzed by factored sampling from this state set and
by superimposing a stochastic diffusion term on the parameters.
The algorithm is successfully applied to clinical 4D CT data. Landmarks have been placed manually to mark
the tumor or a similar structure in the initial image whose position is then tracked over time. We achieve a
processing rate of up to 12 image volumes per second. The accuracy of the tracking after five time steps is
measured based on expert placed landmarks. We achieve a mean landmark error of less than 2 mm in each
dimension in a region with radius of 25 mm around the target structure.