Technical note: Preprocessing of portal images to improve image quality of VMAT-CT

Chia Lung Chien, Xiaodong Zhao, Beibei Guo, Rui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The concept of volumetric modulated arc therapy-computed tomography (VMAT-CT) was proposed more than a decade ago. However, its application has been very limited mainly due to the poor image quality. More specifically, the blurred areas in electronic portal imaging device (EPID) images collected during VMAT heavily degrade the image quality of VMAT-CT. Purpose: The goal of this study was to propose systematic methods to preprocess EPID images and improve the image quality of VMAT-CT. Methods: Online region-based active contour method was introduced to binarize portal images. Multi-leaf collimator (MLC) motion modeling was developed to remove the MLC motion blur. Outlier filtering was then applied to replace the remaining artifacts with plausible data. To assess the impact of these preprocessing methods on the image quality of VMAT-CT, 44 clinical VMAT plans for several treatment sites (lung, esophagus, and head & neck) were delivered to a Rando phantom, and several real-patient cases were also acquired. VMAT-CT reconstruction was attempted for all the cases, and image quality was evaluated. Results: All three preprocessing methods could effectively remove the blurred edges of EPID images. The combined preprocessing methods not only saved VMAT-CT from distortions and artifacts, but also increased the percentage of VMAT plans that can be reconstructed. Conclusions: The systematic preprocessing of portal images improves the image quality of VMAT-CT significantly, and facilitates the application of VMAT-CT as an effective image guidance tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2119-2127
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • computed tomography
  • electronic portal imaging device
  • image preprocessing
  • image quality
  • multi-leaf collimator
  • volumetric modulated arc therapy


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