Technical Note: Characterization and correction of gradient nonlinearity induced distortion on a 10 T open bore MR-SIM

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Medical physics


PURPOSE: Distortions in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compromise spatial fidelity, potentially impacting delineation and dose calculation. We characterized 2D and 3D large field of view (FOV), sequence-independent distortion at various positions in a 1.0 T high-field open MR simulator (MR-SIM) to implement correction maps for MRI treatment planning.

METHODS: A 36 × 43 × 2 cm(3) phantom with 255 known landmarks (∼1 mm(3)) was scanned using 1.0 T high-field open MR-SIM at isocenter in the transverse, sagittal, and coronal axes, and a 465 × 350 × 168 mm(3) 3D phantom was scanned by stepping in the superior-inferior direction in three overlapping positions to achieve a total 465 × 350 × 400 mm(3) sampled FOV yielding >13 800 landmarks (3D Gradient-Echo, TE/TR/α = 5.54 ms/30 ms/28°, voxel size = 1 × 1 × 2 mm(3)). A binary template (reference) was generated from a phantom schematic. An automated program converted MR images to binary via masking, thresholding, and testing for connectivity to identify landmarks. Distortion maps were generated by centroid mapping. Images were corrected via warping with inverse distortion maps, and temporal stability was assessed.

RESULTS: Over the sampled FOV, non-negligible residual gradient distortions existed as close as 9.5 cm from isocenter, with a maximum distortion of 7.4 mm as close as 23 cm from isocenter. Over six months, average gradient distortions were -0.07 ± 1.10 mm and 0.10 ± 1.10 mm in the x and y directions for the transverse plane, 0.03 ± 0.64 and -0.09 ± 0.70 mm in the sagittal plane, and 0.4 ± 1.16 and 0.04 ± 0.40 mm in the coronal plane. After implementing 3D correction maps, distortions were reduced to(1 mm) for all voxels up to 25 cm from magnet isocenter.

CONCLUSIONS: Inherent distortion due to gradient nonlinearity was found to be non-negligible even with vendor corrections applied, and further corrections are required to obtain 1 mm accuracy for large FOVs. Statistical analysis of temporal stability shows that sequence independent distortion maps are consistent within six months of characterization.

Medical Subject Headings

Artifacts; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Nonlinear Dynamics; Phantoms, Imaging; Quality Control

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