Efficient Monte Carlo based scatter artifact reduction in cone-beam micro-CT

Wojciech Zbijewski, Freek J. Beekman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cupping and streak artifacts caused by the detection of scattered photons may severely degrade the quantitative accuracy of cone-beam X-ray computed tomography (CT) images. In order to overcome this problem, we propose and validate the following iterative scatter artifact reduction scheme. First, an initial image is reconstructed from the scatter-contaminated projections. Next, the scatter component of the projections is estimated from the initial reconstruction by a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation. The estimate obtained is then utilized during the reconstruction of a scatter-corrected image. The last two steps are repeated until an adequate correction is obtained. The estimation of the noise-free scatter projections in this scheme is accelerated in the following way: first, a rapid (i.e., based on a low number of simulated photon tracks) MC simulation is executed. The noisy result of this simulation is de-noised by a three-dimensional fitting of Gaussian basis functions. We demonstrate that, compared to plain MC, this method shortens the required simulation time by three to four orders of magnitude. Using simulated projections of a small animal phantom, we show that one cycle of the scatter correction scheme is sufficient to produce reconstructed images that barely differ from the reconstructions of scatter-free projections. The reconstructions of data acquired with a charge-coupled device based micro-CT scanner demonstrate a nearly complete removal of the scatter-induced cupping artifact. Quantitative errors in a water phantom are reduced from around 12% for reconstructions without the scatter correction to 1 % after the proposed scatter correction has been applied. In conclusion, a general, accurate, and efficient scatter correction algorithm is developed that requires no mechanical modifications of the scanning equipment and results in only a moderate increase in the total reconstruction time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1644798
Pages (from-to)817-827
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Artifact removal
  • Computed tomography
  • Cone beam
  • Image reconstruction
  • Medical imaging
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Scatter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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