Localizing intracavitary brachytherapy applicators from cone-beam CT x-ray projections via a novel iterative forward projection matching algorithm

Damodar Pokhrel, Martin J. Murphy, Dorin A. Todor, Elisabeth Weiss, Jeffrey F. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: To present a novel method for reconstructing the 3D pose (position and orientation) of radio-opaque applicators of known but arbitrary shape from a small set of 2D x-ray projections in support of intraoperative brachytherapy planning. Methods: The generalized iterative forward projection matching (gIFPM) algorithm finds the six degree-of-freedom pose of an arbitrary rigid object by minimizing the sum-of-squared-intensity differences (SSQD) between the computed and experimentally acquired autosegmented projection of the objects. Starting with an initial estimate of the object's pose, gIFPM iteratively refines the pose parameters (3D position and three Euler angles) until the SSQD converges. The object, here specialized to a Fletcher-Weeks intracavitary brachytherapy (ICB) applicator, is represented by a fine mesh of discrete points derived from complex combinatorial geometric models of the actual applicators. Three pairs of computed and measured projection images with known imaging geometry are used. Projection images of an intrauterine tandem and colpostats were acquired from an ACUITY cone-beam CT digital simulator. An image postprocessing step was performed to create blurred binary applicators only images. To quantify gIFPM accuracy, the reconstructed 3D pose of the applicator model was forward projected and overlaid with the measured images and empirically calculated the nearest-neighbor applicator positional difference for each image pair. Results: In the numerical simulations, the tandem and colpostats positions (x,y,z) and orientations (α,β,γ) were estimated with accuracies of 0.6 mm and 2°, respectively. For experimentally acquired images of actual applicators, the residual 2D registration error was less than 1.8 mm for each image pair, corresponding to about 1 mm positioning accuracy at isocenter, with a total computation time of less than 1.5 min on a 1 GHz processor. Conclusions: This work describes a novel, accurate, fast, and completely automatic method to localize radio-opaque applicators of arbitrary shape from measured 2D x-ray projections. The results demonstrate ∼1 mm accuracy while compared against the measured applicator projections. No lateral film is needed. By localizing the applicator internal structure as well as radioactive sources, the effect of intra-applicator and interapplicator attenuation can be included in the resultant dose calculations. Further validation tests using clinically acquired tandem and colpostats images will be performed for the accurate and robust applicator/sources localization in ICB patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1080
Number of pages11
JournalMedical physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • cone-beam CT
  • generalized iterative forward projection matching
  • intracavitary brachytherapy applicators
  • localization
  • x-ray projections


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