While MR provides excellent soft-tissue imaging, CT is still essential for providing electron density information for dose planning which MR images cannot deliver. As a result, many institutions have to adapt their RT treatment planning workflow, in which patients are normally scanned on both imaging modalities. This makes the workflow more complicated and also challenging in regards to image co-registration. Siemens Healthineers is proud to release Synthetic CT1, the new application that allows you to perform an MR-only radiotherapy planning workflow. Synthetic CT1, as part of syngo.via RT Image Suite, derives a CT-like image from a series of MR sequences and can be used for dose calculation, all without the need for a CT scan.
The MR-only radiotherapy planning workflow typically encompasses five main areas:
Imaging for planning and simulation
Imaging starts with the RT Dot Engine, which provides workflow guidance with dedicated RT protocols for brain, head/neck, and pelvis to help achieve consistent data acquisition and geometric accuracy. Pictograms and hints show how to plan an exam, and guide users through the scan.
Post-processing and assessment
Post-processing is made simple with syngo.via RT image Suite. After performing the necessary MR scans, the Synthetic CT1 image is created automatically and displayed on the scanner console.
Afterwards, the Synthetic CT1 image can be displayed alongside other MR images for patient marking, assessment, and parallel contouring. Once preparation is completed in RT Image Suite, users can then export the images to their treatment planning system for dose calculation.
Studies have shown that dose calculation on Synthetic CT1 images correlates very closely to that on a conventional CT image.
Treatment monitoring and adaptation
It is also important that patient response is monitored and that treatment plans are adapted according to the response assessment. To support physicians with response assessment, Siemens Healthineers offers a wide range of applications and techniques which can be utilized for this evaluation. MR OncoCare, for instance, can assist you in response assessment and treatment monitoring by providing a quantitative assessment of a lesion’s functional characteristics.
Diffusion-weighted imaging, or DWI, is another technique often used in radiation therapy to assess tumor response to treatment. DWI can provide valuable information about tissue cellularity, but is by nature more susceptible to increased distortions. Siemens Healthineers’ RESOLVE technique can help correct distortion artifacts caused by for example dental implants with DWI in brain imaging.
Finally, dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI can also help assess tumor function and response by showing blood flow and blood volume. This can be utilized as tumors have a tendency to enhance contrast earlier than surrounding tissue. For contrast-enhanced imaging, we offer our unique technique called Compressed Sensing GRASP-VIBE2, which combines high robustness for involuntary motion with high temporal resolution to capture the contrast dynamics.