Contrast agent recognition in small animal CT using the Medipix2 detector
Energy resolving capabilities of X-ray detectors like the Medipix2 and the upcoming Medipix3 offer access to spectral information which is a new domain of information in medical imaging.
In conventional CT of a composite object only the cumulative contribution of all involved materials to the attenuation is measurable, but not how much each material component contributes to this attenuation is measured. Therefore, contrast agent cannot be distinguished from bone or calcifications. The method of material reconstruction exploits the energy information to determine the partial densities of the involved materials using a maximum likelihood approach, i.e. it allows the separation of contrast agent from tissue, bones and calcifications.
We have employed the Medipix All Resolution System (MARS) scanner equipped with a Medipix2 MXR and performed a CT scan of a mouse with iodine contrast agent in stomach and bowel. The method allows to separate the iodine contrast agent from all the other absorbing structures. In the iodine image, only the iodine concentration is visible, while the non-iodine (water) image shows all the other tissue structures and bones. The method of material reconstruction was applied to real CT data of a biological sample for the first time.