Quantitative investigation of low-dose PET imaging and post-reconstruction smoothing

Document Type : Original Paper


1 Division of Medical Radiation, Department of Nuclear Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Department of Medical Imaging, Geneva University Hospital, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland



Introduction: In Positron emission tomography (PET), a high amount of radiotracer is injected to form high-quality PET images causing a high risk of radiation damage to patients. On the other hand, reducing the injected dose would lead to poor image quality.

Material and methods: In this study, 18F-FDG PET/CT brain scans of 50 patients with head and neck malignant lesions were employed to assess the relationship between the amount of injected dose and the image quality through measuring peak-signal-to-noise-ration (PSNR), structural similarity index (SSIM), root mean square error (RMSE), and standard uptake value (SUV) bias for the whole head region as well as the malignant lesions, considering the standard-dose-PET images as reference. Furthermore, we evaluated the impact of post-reconstruction Gaussian-filtering on the PET images to reduce noise at different low-dose levels.

Results: Significant degradation of PET image quality and tumor detectability was observed with a decrease in the injected dose, leading to a remarkable increase in RMSE from 0.173 SUV (at 5%) to 1.454 SUV (at 1%). SUVmax bias greatly increased in low-dose-PET images before applying the post-reconstruction filter, while applying the Gaussian filter on low-dose-PET images led to a significant reduction in SUVmax bias. The SUVmean bias within the malignant lesions was less than 1% in low-dose-PET images; however, this bias increased significantly after applying the post-reconstruction filter.

Conclusion: In conclusion, it is recommended that the SUVmax bias and SUVmean bias in low-dose-PET images should be considered prior to and following the application of the post-reconstruction Guassain filter, respectively.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 09 April 2023
  • Receive Date: 13 July 2022
  • Revise Date: 28 March 2023
  • Accept Date: 09 April 2023
  • First Publish Date: 09 April 2023