Compared to 3D cone beam computed tomography (3D CBCT), the image quality of commercially available four-dimensional (4D) CBCT is severely impaired due to the insufficient amount of projection data available for each phase. Since the traditional Feldkamp-Davis-Kress (FDK)-based algorithm is infeasible for reconstructing high quality 4D CBCT images with limited projections, investigators had developed several compress-sensing (CS) based algorithms to improve image quality. The aim of this study is to develop a novel algorithm which can provide better image quality than the FDK and other CS based algorithms with limited projections. We named this algorithm 'the common mask guided image reconstruction' (c-MGIR). In c-MGIR, the unknown CBCT volume is mathematically modeled as a combination of phase-specific motion vectors and phase-independent static vectors. The common-mask matrix, which is the key concept behind the c-MGIR algorithm, separates the common static part across all phase images from the possible moving part in each phase image. The moving part and the static part of the volumes were then alternatively updated by solving two sub-minimization problems iteratively. As the novel mathematical transformation allows the static volume and moving volumes to be updated (during each iteration) with global projections and 'well' solved static volume respectively, the algorithm was able to reduce the noise and under-sampling artifact (an issue faced by other algorithms) to the maximum extent. To evaluate the performance of our proposed c-MGIR, we utilized imaging data from both numerical phantoms and a lung cancer patient. The qualities of the images reconstructed with c-MGIR were compared with (1) standard FDK algorithm, (2) conventional total variation (CTV) based algorithm, (3) prior image constrained compressed sensing (PICCS) algorithm, and (4) motion-map constrained image reconstruction (MCIR) algorithm, respectively. To improve the efficiency of the algorithm, the code was implemented with a graphic processing unit for parallel processing purposes. Root mean square error (RMSE) between the ground truth and reconstructed volumes of the numerical phantom were in the descending order of FDK, CTV, PICCS, MCIR, and c-MGIR for all phases. Specifically, the means and the standard deviations of the RMSE of FDK, CTV, PICCS, MCIR and c-MGIR for all phases were 42.64 ± 6.5%, 3.63 ± 0.83%, 1.31% ± 0.09%, 0.86% ± 0.11% and 0.52 % ± 0.02%, respectively. The image quality of the patient case also indicated the superiority of c-MGIR compared to other algorithms. The results indicated that clinically viable 4D CBCT images can be reconstructed while requiring no more projection data than a typical clinical 3D CBCT scan. This makes c-MGIR a potential online reconstruction algorithm for 4D CBCT, which can provide much better image quality than other available algorithms, while requiring less dose and potentially less scanning time.
- 4D CBCT
- Compressed sensing
- Iterative image reconstruction
- On-line IGRT