You are on page 1of 72

Imaging Techniques


Patrcia Figueiredo
IST 2012-2013
Patrcia Figueiredo, IST
(, IST North Tower, 6th floor, Tel: 218418277 ext 2277)
Jorge Campos, FMUL
(, Servio de Imagiologia Hospital Santa Maria Piso 3
Rosa Barroca, Tel: 217805154)

By the end of the semester, the student should be familiar with:
the physical principles and basic instrumentation used for the acquisition of the main
biomedical imaging techniques;
the most important image reconstruction and analysis methods;
the main applications in disease diagnosis and monitoring.

- Introduction to Biomedical Imaging. Andrew Webb.
- Foundations of Medical Imaging. Zang-Hee Cho, Joie P. Jones, Manbir Singh.
-Medical Imaging Physics. William R. Hendee, E. Russell Ritenour.
-Biosignal and Biomedical Image Processing: Matlab-Based Applications. John L.Semmlow.
-Imagiologia Bsica Texto e Atlas, Ed. Joo Martins Pisco, LIDEL Julho 2009.

1. Introduction 4. Magnetic Resonance Imaging

1.Historical perspective (MRI)
2.General imaging principles 1. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
2. X ray imaging (NMR)
1. X rays 2. Image formation and
2. Planar radiography reconstruction
3. Computed Tomography (CT) 3. Instrumentation
4. Image reconstruction 4. Constrast mechanisms
5. Specialized imaging techniques 5. Imaging sequences
3. Nuclear medicine imaging 6. Rapid imaging
1. Radionuclides 7. Specialized imaging techniques
2. Scintigraphy 5. Ultrasound imaging
3. Single Photon Emission Computed 1. Ultrasounds
Tomography (SPECT) 2. Transducers
4. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) 3. Imaging modes
Evaluation method:
Two tests or Final exam - 50% (IST) (the 2nd test will coincide with the first part of, and take place on
the same date as, the 1st exam).
Lab work - 30% (IST)
Essay - 15% (FMUL)
Assiduity to FMUL classes 5% (FMUL)
A minimum grade of 9.5 is required for the tests/exam and the lab work.
IST Labs:
-Lab work is carried out in groups of 2 students, split into 3 shifts of 10 groups each: A - Wednesdays,
14h0015h30; B Wednesdays, 15h3017h00; and C Wednesdays, 17h0018h30.
-Lab guidelines will be published on Thursdays before each Lab.
-Lab reports should be handed in to the IST lecturer at the end of each lab class.
FMUL Site visits and essay:
-The FMUL site visits are performed in 4 shifts of ~15 students each: I 15/05, 14-16h; II 15/05,
16-18h; III 22/05, 14-16h and IV 22/05, 16-18h.
-The essay will be written in groups of ~4 students each (pairs of lab groups);
-The essay should be handed in to the FMUL lecturer by 24/05.
Groups and shifts:
-The students should organize themselves into IST lab groups, IST lab shifts, FMUL essay groups and
FMUL site visit shifts; and the student delegate should send the respective lists to by 22/02.

Labs are in Room QLTI,

South Tower 5th floor
On Fenix!

(check Announcements and section Materials)


1. Historical perspective of medical imaging

a) From the first x ray image
b) to PET-MR

2. Definition and classification of medical imaging modalities

a) Definition and scope
b) Classification according to different criteria

3. Basic principles of medical imaging

a) Image properties
b) Imaging principles
c) Visualization methods and image processing
Rntgen, discovery of X rays and the first radiography, Wrzburg (1895)

Within a month of their discovery, x rays were being

explored as medical tools in several countries
Technical developments leading to radiography today

-hot-cathode x-ray tubes -

-rotating anodes -computed radiography
-intensifying screens -digital radiography
-image intensifiers -angiography
-contrast agents -
Radon and the Radon transform (1917)

{ f (x, y )} = f (x(l ), y (l ))dl

Hounsfield and the first CT prototype at EMI Ltd., England (1972)

EMI Ltd., the commercial developer of CT,

was the first company to enter CT into the
market. They did so as a last resort, only after
offering the rights to sell, distribute, and service
CT to the major vendors of imaging equipment.
The vendors rejected EMIs offer because they
believed the market for CT was too small
The successive generations of CT: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
A 3rd generation CT scanner today

T = X-ray tube
D = X-ray detector
X = X-ray fan beam
R = Rotation direction
CT images today
Becquerel and the discovery of spontaneous radioactivity (1896)

The discovery of Tc and the synthesis of artificial radionuclides (1937)
Anger and the scintillation camera (or camera), 1952
Positron Emission Tomography, PET (1953)

Istopos emissores de positres

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography, SPECT (1963)

99m-Tc T1/2= ~ 6 h
I-123 T1/2= ~ 13 h
Molecular imaging today
Molecular imaging today

Oncology Neurotransmitters
Bloch and Purcell and the discovery of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, NMR (1945)

B0 L


Natural abundance
Isotope Spin I
[MHz/T] [%]
1H 42.575 99.985
2H 1 6.53 0.015
19F 40.08 100
31P 17.25 100
Lauterbur and the first MR images - zeugmatography (1973)

One would not think from reading the title that it represented
the foundation for a revolution in imaging. Indeed the paper was
nearly not published having been initially rejected by the editor as
not of sufficiently wide significance for inclusion in Nature.
Ernst and Fourier reconstruction of MR images (1975)


Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Fourier K space

Ernst and Fourier reconstruction of MR images (1975)


Brain slice K space

Damadian and the first whole body images (1977)

In 2003, The Noble Prize for the MRI was

awarded, not to Dr. Damadian, but to two
nuclear magnetic resonance scientists
Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield.
Mansfield and the acquisition of ultra-fast MR images (1977)
From Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

1946 MR phenomenon - Bloch & Purcell

1952 Nobel Prize - Bloch & Purcell
1960 NMR developed as analytical tool
1972 Computerized Tomography
1973 Backprojection MRI - Lauterbur
1975 Fourier Imaging - Ernst
1977 Echo-planar imaging - Mansfield
1986 Gradient Echo Imaging
1987 MR Angiography - Dumoulin
1991 Nobel Prize - Ernst
1992 Functional MRI
2003 Nobel Prize - Lauterbur & Mansfield
MRI today
MRI today

Hardenbergh et al., 2005

MRI today: going up the field strength... 1.5T, 3T, 7T

Super-conducting magnets:
liquid helium fill for cooling shielding of large fringe field
Leonardo Da Vinci was the first to compare sound reflection to light reflection (1480)

The sonar was developed only during the

2nd World War (1940s)
Ultrasound and echography (1953)

In May 1953 they produced real-time images

at 15 MHz of cancerous growths of the
breast. They had also coined their method
'echography' and 'echometry...
Ultrasound and echography (1953)
Utrasounds today
Trends in medical imaging

From To
Analog Digital
Qualitative Quantitative
Anatomic Physiobiochemical
Static Dynamic
Nonspecific Tissue-Targeted
Diagnosis Diagnosis/Therapy
Single modality Hybrid systems

RF shield

head coil

Prottipo Siemens Medical, Grazioso et al., 2005 Prototype from the Cambridge PET/MR project

Animal MR system


MR Receiver Coil
Cherry, University of California, Davis
Medical imaging definition and scope
Medical imaging definition in Cho et al.:

Medical imaging refers to the study of the interaction of all forms of radiation with
biologicak tissues and the development of appropriate technology for the extraction
of clinically useful information from the observation of these interactions.

Medical imaging in

As a discipline and in its widest sense, it is part of biological imaging and

incorporates radiology (in the wider sense), radiological sciences, endoscopy,
(medical) thermography, medical photography and microscopy (e.g. for human
pathological investigations).

Measurement and recording techniques which are not primarily designed to produce
images, such as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography
(MEG) and others, but which produce data susceptible to be represented as maps
(i.e. containing positional information), can be seen as forms of medical imaging.
Main medical imaging modalities:

-Radiography, Angiography, Fluoroscopy, Mammography (X-rays)

-Computed Tomography (CT) (X-rays)
-Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) (nuclear medicine)
-Positron Emission Computed Tomography (PET) (nuclear medicine)
-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
-Ecography, Echo-Doppler (ultrasound)

-Diffusion Optical Imaging (DOI) (optical imaging)

-Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) (optical imaging)
-Confocal laser microscopy (optical imaging)

-Electric impedance tomography (EIT)

-Electro-encephalography (EEG) (neurophysiology)
-Magneto-encephalography (MEG) (neurophysiology)

As a function of the type of radiation:

- X-rays: Radiography, CT, Angiography
- photons: PET, SPECT
- Radiofrequencies (RF): MRI, fMRI
- Ultrasound (US): Echography, Echo-Doppler
As a function of the type of radiation:
- X-rays: Radiography, CT, Angiography
- photons: PET, SPECT
- Radiofrequencies (RF): MRI, fMRI
- Ultrasound (US): Echography, Echo-Doppler

As a function of the observed process:

- transmission: X-rays (Radiography, CT)
- emission: PET, SPECT
- reflexion: Ultrasound (Echography, Echo-Doppler)
- magnetic resonance: MRI, fMRI
As a function of the ionizing nature of the radiation:

- ionizing (E>13.6 eV): X-rays, PET, SPECT

Specific Ionization (SI), Quality Factor (QF), Dose

- non-ionizing (E<13.6 eV): Ultrasound, MRI

Dielectric constant, Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)
As a function of the ionizing nature of the radiation:

- ionizing (E>13.6 eV): X-rays, PET, SPECT

Specific Ionization (SI), Quality Factor (QF), Dose

- non-ionizing (E<13.6 eV): Ultrasound, MRI

Dielectric constant, Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)

As a function of invasiveness:

- invasive: X-rays, PET, SPECT

- non-invasive: Ultrasound, MRI

As a function of the method of image production:

- Classic: the image is a direct manifestation of the interaction between the radiation and
the object (Radiography, Echography)

- Modern: the image is obtain from the observations through some computation leadin to
the so-called image reconstruction (CT, PET, SPECT, MRI, Echo-Doppler)

As a function of quantitativeness:

- Non-quantitative (Radiography, Echography)

- Quantitative (CT, PET, SPECT, MRI, Echo-Doppler)

As a function of the type of information obtained:

- structural: Radiography, CT, Echografia, MRI

- functional: Angiography, PET, SPECT, Echo-Doppler, fMRI
- dynamic (blood flow): Angiography, Echo-Doppler
- physiological (diffusion, perfusion): fMRI, PET, SPECT
- metabolic: MRSI, PET, SPECT
- molecular: PET, SPECT,
As a function of spatial and temporal resolution:




(fusion) (superimposed)
Imaging principles
Image properties
Image orientation
Image properties
Image volume, slice, voxel and field-of-view (FOV)

Image prescription slice

volume FOV 2D
Image properties
Spatial resolution

Image resolution ~ pixel size

Image resolution = smallest

distance between two point
sources for which the sources
can be resolved.

Image resolution depends on

the imaging system and
parameters used.
Image properties
Spatial resolution

Image resolution ~ pixel size

Image properties
Spatial frequency
Image properties
Image contrast

Image contrast = difference

in image intensity that makes an
object distinguishable from
another or from the background.

Image contrast depends on the

tissue characteristics as well as
the contrast sensitivity of the
imaging system used.
Image properties
Image contrast
Image properties
Signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR):
SNR ~ compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise.
Signal processing definition: (power of signal over power of noise)
Medical imaging definition: (mean signal over SD of noise)

Image SNR depends on

the available object signal and
on the imaging system noise

Image properties
Signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR):
Image properties
Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR):
CNR ~ compares the image contrast between regions-of-interest A and B to the
level of background noise.

Image CNR depends on

the tissue contrast,
the object size and the
contrast sensitivity, image
resolution and SNR of the
imaging system.
Image properties
Main image characteristics:

Spatial resolution = minimum point separation (R): PSF, LSF, MTF

Signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR): Object, Noise

Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR): Object, Noise, PSF

CT, PET, SPECT: SNR = N N N = nmero de raios X ou ,

com distribuio de Poisson,
= desvio padro

s = sinal mdio;
= desvio padro do erro,
N = nmero de repeties
Imaging principles
The imaging process
Imaging principles
In general:

I (x, y ) = S{O(x, y )}+ N (x, y )

I (x, y ) = S O(x0 , y0 ) (x x0 , y y0 )dx0 dy0 + N (x, y )

(x0,1 ,y0,1) System (x0,1 ,y0,1)

(x0,2 ,y0,2) (x0,2 ,y0,2)


Object Image
Imaging principles
For a spatially invariant system :

I (x, y ) = O(x , y )PSF (x x , y y )dx dy

0 0 0 0 0 0 + N (x, y )

I (x, y ) = O(x, y ) PSF(x, y ) + Noise

PSF = Point Spread Function

Determinant factors (depend on modality):

htotal = hsensor hsampling hreconstruction h filtering

Ideal PSF:

h(x,y,z) = (x,y,z) I = O, = Delta de Dirac.

Most common PSF shapes: Gaussian,

sinc, ...
Imaging principles

Point spread function (PSF): I (x, y ) = O(x, y ) PSF(x, y ) + Noise

Linear spread function (LSF): LSF ( y ) = PSF ( x, y)dx

PSF(x,y) LSF(y)
Imaging principles
Spatial resolution

R = smallest distance between two point sources for which the sources can be resolved.

R is related with the system point spread function (PSF): I (x, y, z ) = PSF (x, y, z ) O(x, y, z )
1 (x )2
A common shape for the PSF is a Gaussian - in 1D: h( x ) = exp ,

2 2
(in this case, R~FWHM in each direction)
FWHM = 2 2 ln(2 ) 2.36
The total imaging PSF results from several contributions: PSFtotal = PSF1 PSFN
... and so does the final image resolution: 2
R final = R1 + + R N
Imaging principles

Modulation transfer function (MTF):

MTF = Amp[FT ( PSF )] = Amp PSF (x, y ) e i 2k x x e
i 2k y y
dxdy ]
Image processing
Medical image digital formats:

Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)

= standard for handling, storing, printing, and transmitting information
in medical imaging.

AVW Analyze
= data format used by the image processing program written by The
Biomedical Imaging Resource at the Mayo Foundation, now extended
to a wide variety of other software.

Neuroimaging Informatics Technology Initiative (NIfTI)

= to speed the development and enhance the utility of informatics
tools related to neuroimaging.
Image processing
Medical image visualization and processing tools:
Manufacturers: e.g., Siemens Medical
Image processing
Medical image visualization and processing tools:

Freeware tools:
- General purpose software:
e.g. ImageJ
- Specialized software:
e.g., MRIcro
Image processing
Medical image development tools:

Matlab Image Processing Toolbox

Description Topics
Image Acquisition, Import, and Export
Image Processing, Analysis, and Visualization
Algorithm Development and Application Deployment
Video and Image Processing System Design
Geospatial Computing
Medical Imaging

Webb, Introduction to Biomedical Imaging, Wiley 2003.

Cho, Jones, Singh, Foundations of Medical Imaging.
Hendee, Medical Imaging Physics, Wiley 2002.
Sprawls, Physical Principles of Medical Imaging.
Changing the Landscape: How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the
U.S.. National Electrical Manufacturers Association, December 2006.