Evaluating different methods of MR-based motion correction in simultaneous PET/MR using a head phantom moved by a robotic system

Eric Einspänner (Lead / Corresponding author), Thies H. Jochimsen, Johanna Harries, Andreas Melzer, Michael Unger, Richard Brown, Kris Thielemans, Osama Sabri, Bernhard Sattler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Due to comparatively long measurement times in simultaneous positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance (PET/MR) imaging, patient movement during the measurement can be challenging. This leads to artifacts which have a negative impact on the visual assessment and quantitative validity of the image data and, in the worst case, can lead to misinterpretations. Simultaneous PET/MR systems allow the MR-based registration of movements and enable correction of the PET data. To assess the effectiveness of motion correction methods, it is necessary to carry out measurements on phantoms that are moved in a reproducible way. This study explores the possibility of using such a phantom-based setup to evaluate motion correction strategies in PET/MR of the human head.

Method: An MR-compatible robotic system was used to generate rigid movements of a head-like phantom. Different tools, either from the manufacturer or open-source software, were used to estimate and correct for motion based on the PET data itself (SIRF with SPM and NiftyReg) and MR data acquired simultaneously (e.g. MCLFIRT, BrainCompass). Different motion estimates were compared using data acquired during robot-induced motion. The effectiveness of motion correction of PET data was evaluated by determining the segmented volume of an activity-filled flask inside the phantom. In addition, the segmented volume was used to determine the centre-of-mass and the change in maximum activity concentration.

Results: The results showed a volume increase between 2.7 and 36.3% could be induced by the experimental setup depending on the motion pattern. Both, BrainCompass and MCFLIRT, produced corrected PET images, by reducing the volume increase to 0.7-4.7% (BrainCompass) and to -2.8-0.4% (MCFLIRT). The same was observed for example for the centre-of-mass, where the results show that MCFLIRT (0.2-0.6 mm after motion correction) had a smaller deviation from the reference position than BrainCompass (0.5-1.8 mm) for all displacements.

Conclusions: The experimental setup is suitable for the reproducible generation of movement patterns. Using open-source software for motion correction is a viable alternative to the vendor-provided motion-correction software.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages17
JournalEJNMMI physics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2022


  • BrainCompass
  • Motion correction
  • NiftyReg
  • Phantom
  • SIRF
  • SPM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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