Positron emission tomography (PET) attenuation correction artefacts in PET/CT and PET/MRI

C Buchbender, V Hartung-Knemeyer, M Forsting, G Antoch, T A Heusner
British Journal of Radiology 2013, 86 (1025): 20120570

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of implanted medical materials on (18)F-fludeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/MRI using a Dixon-based segmentation method for MRI-based attenuation correction (MRAC), PET/CT and CT-based attenuation-corrected PET (PETCTAC).

METHODS: 12 patients (8 males and 4 females; age 58±11 years) with implanted medical materials prospectively underwent whole-body (18)F-FDG PET/CT and PET/MRI. CT, MRI and MRAC maps as well as PETCTAC and PETMRAC images were reviewed for the presence of artefacts. Their morphology and effect on the estimation of the (18)F-FDG uptake (no effect, underestimation, overestimation compared with non-corrected images) were compared. In PETMRAC images, a volume of interest was drawn in the area of the artefact and in a reference site (contralateral body part); the mean and maximum standardised uptake values (SUVmean; SUVmax) were measured.

RESULTS: Of 27 implanted materials (20 dental fillings, 3 injection ports, 3 hip prostheses and 1 sternal cerclage), 27 (100%) caused artefacts in CT, 19 (70%) in T1 weighted MRI and 17 (63%) in MRAC maps. 20 (74%) caused a visual overestimation of the (18)F-FDG uptake in PETCTAC, 2 (7%) caused an underestimation and 5 (19%) had no effect. In PETMRAC, 19 (70%) caused spherical extinctions and 8 (30%) had no effect. Mean values for SUVmean and SUVmax were significantly decreased in artefact-harbouring sites (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Contrary to PET attenuation correction artefacts in PET/CT, which often show an overestimation of the (18)F-FDG uptake, MRAC artefacts owing to implanted medical materials in most cases cause an underestimation.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Being aware of the morphology of artefacts owing to implanted medical materials avoids interpretation errors when reading PET/MRI.

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