Medical imaging fusion plays an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer who are receiving radiation therapy. Image fusion and registration are essential in the daily treatment planning duties of a medical dosimetrist. The image fusion and registration process involves combining multimodality images to delineate the anatomical and physiological differences from one dataset to another. This article will discuss imaging modalities, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, single photon emission computed tomography, and sonography, and examine how significant their roles are in the treatment and management of radiation therapy patients. Image registration processes will be introduced as well as the recommended quality assurance procedures. The DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) networking requirements will be explained as they apply to image fusion, registration, and storage. DICOM-RT (Radiotherapy) networking will be discussed as it applies to the radiation therapy department. Various case studies are presented to demonstrate the technique and benefit of image fusion in the treatment and management of the radiation therapy patient.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Describe image fusion and image registration.
- Identify imaging modalities used for image fusion.
- Compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of each imaging modality as it applies to the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of the radiation therapy patient.
- Describe image registration processes.
- Discuss networking and quality assurance requirements for image fusion.