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Publication numberUS20020081010 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/745,663
Publication dateJun 27, 2002
Filing dateDec 21, 2000
Priority dateDec 21, 2000
Also published asEP1223751A1, US7265355, US20050104018
Publication number09745663, 745663, US 2002/0081010 A1, US 2002/081010 A1, US 20020081010 A1, US 20020081010A1, US 2002081010 A1, US 2002081010A1, US-A1-20020081010, US-A1-2002081010, US2002/0081010A1, US2002/081010A1, US20020081010 A1, US20020081010A1, US2002081010 A1, US2002081010A1
InventorsYun Chang, John Yorkston, David Foos
Original AssigneeChang Yun C., John Yorkston, Foos David H.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for acquiring full spine and full leg images using flat panel digital radiography
US 20020081010 A1
Abstract
Apparatus for acquiring an elongated radiographic image comprising: a flat panel electronic detector of radiographic images, said detector having a known length; and a transport mechanism for mounting said detector for movement in a direction parallel to said known length so that said detector can be positioned in sequential contiguous positions to acquire a radiation image greater in length than said detector length.
Images(3)
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Claims(4)
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for acquiring an elongated radiographic image comprising:
a flat panel electronic detector of radiographic images, said detector having a known length; and
a transport mechanism for mounting said detector for movement in a direction parallel to said known length so that said detector can be positioned in sequential contiguous positions to acquire a radiation image greater in length than said detector length.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said detector is mounted for movement by said transport mechanism in a vertical direction.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 including a radiation attenuating marking device located between said detector and the source of said radiographic image, said device being dimensioned to be equal or greater than the dimension of said elongated radiographic image.
4. The method of acquiring an elongated radiographic image comprising:
positioning an elongated object between a source of x-rays and a flat panel electronic detector of radiographic images, said detector having a known length; and
moving said detector in a direction parallel to said known length to position said detector in sequential contiguous positions to acquire a radiographic image of said elongated object
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates in general to digital radiographic imaging, and in particular to the acquisition of multiple, standard sized radiographs for purposes of constructing a larger composite radiographic image.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Full spine and full leg radiographic examinations require images that are longer than the length of normal-sized radiographic films. The problem is circumvented by two approaches. The first approach uses an extra long, non-standard film. This approach is expensive and inconvenient. The second approach uses several normal-size films for exposure and then tape the sub-images together (see U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,725,703 and 3,774,703). Computed Radiography (CR) has the same problem. The problem is circumvented by either using an elongated CR plate (U.S. Pat. No. 5,130,542) or by using several CR plates for imaging, and then using digital image processing to stitch the sub-images together (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,111,045, 5,986,279 and EPO 9194856A1).

[0003] With the advent of flat panel digital radiography (DR), it is natural to apply the technology to full spine/leg imaging. Various patents teach the assembly of smaller sensor arrays to form a large sensor (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,105,087, 4,467,342, and 4,755,686). However, DR sensors are expensive. Thus the DR assembly approach is economically prohibitive. One patent teaches the use of a moving sensor to detect fan beam X-ray in CT scan (U.S. Pat. No. 4,873,708). The approach takes the scanned signals and constructs a sliced image of the body. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,613,983 and 5,123,056 disclosure systems for imaging a human subject on a table including an X-ray source, a table and an image intensifier tube. Either the table or X-ray source and table are moved to produce a series of overlapping electronic images which are combined into an elongated image for display or printing. Another patent teaches a moveable X-ray cassette holder design.

[0004] The field of DR is expanding rapidly. Physicians order full spine and full leg imaging routinely for scoliosis patients and for leg length, angulation and deformity measurements. It is therefore necessary to provide an economically feasible capability for acquiring images using flat panel digital radiography that can be used for subsequent construction of full spine and long bone images.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] According to one feature of the invention, it focuses on the sequential acquisition of multiple radiographic images using a moveable DR plate for purposes of digitally constructing a composite larger spine or long bone image.

[0006] According to another feature of the present invention, a standard DR plate is mounted on a moving plate holder. Two or more radiographic images are acquired sequentially. The spatial position of each subsequent image is acquired with a small amount of overlap of the spatial position of the previous image to aid in the construction of the composite image.

[0007] Individual images are acquired in the presence of a reference grid or some other fiducial markers to aid in performing geometric corrections for distortion introduced by the image acquisition process as the DR plate is moved.

ADVANTAGEOUS EFFECT OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The invention has the following advantages.

[0009] 1. Composing sub-images acquired by DR is useful for full spine and full leg radiographic examinations. This approach combines the convenience of DR with the flexibility of digital image processing.

[0010] 2. Only one DR plate is used for image acquisition. The first sub-image can be processed while the second one is being taken. Both cost saving and the convenience of DR imaging can be achieved.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011]FIGS. 1A and 1B are diagrammatic side and front views of a DR plate mounted on a transport mechanism that allows the plate to be repositioned for sequential image capture.

[0012]FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view showing an example of 3 sequentially acquired DR images with a small amount of overlap between each sequential pair.

[0013]FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view showing an example of a fiducial marker, in this example the drawing represents a fine wire grid that has precisely defined squares. The image of the patient is acquired together with the grid, or some other form of reference marker target to facilitate construction of the composite image.

[0014]FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of a radiographic imaging system incorporating the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present invention enables the sequential acquisition of multiple flat panel digital radiographs using a standard sized flat panel detector in such a way as to facilitate the subsequent construction of a larger composite image. As shown in FIG. 1, the flat panel detector 10 is mounted to a transport mechanism 12 that enables the detector to be moved in the vertical (up or down) direction 14 between each image acquisition. Mechanism 12 is mounted on a frame 16. Detector 10 can be moved manually or be motor driven (not shown). The images are acquired such that there is a small amount of overlap between the previous and next acquisition. FIG. 2 shows the acquisition of 3 overlapped images 20, 22, 24. Fiducial markers are superimposed on the image of the patient so that the distortion introduced by the change in position of the detector relative to the direction of the primary radiation for sequential acquisitions can be corrected. FIG. 3 shows an elongated guide 30 of radiation opaque material, such as lead. As shown in FIG. 4, grid 30 is placed in front of DR plate 10.

[0016] Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown a radiographic imaging system 40 incorporating the present invention. As shown, system 40 includes a source 42 of penetrating radiation, such as X-rays 41. A patient 44 is placed between source 42 and detector 10. Detector 10 is mounted for movement in the vertical direction 14 on transport assembly 12 on frame 16. Radiation attenuating grid 30 is positioned between detector 10 and patient 44.

[0017] The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6895076Jun 3, 2003May 17, 2005Ge Medical Systems Global Technology Company, LlcMethods and apparatus for multiple image acquisition on a digital detector
US6944265Nov 25, 2002Sep 13, 2005Ge Medical Systems Global Technology Company, LlcImage pasting using geometry measurement and a flat-panel detector
US7110497Mar 29, 2005Sep 19, 2006Ge Medical Systems Global Technology Company, LlcMethods and apparatus for multiple image acquisition on a digital detector
US7177455Jan 25, 2005Feb 13, 2007General Electric CompanyImage pasting system using a digital detector
US7304321Oct 14, 2005Dec 4, 2007Orex Computed Radiography, Ltd.Methods and apparatus for imaging elongate objects
US7479648Oct 16, 2007Jan 20, 2009Carestream Health, Inc.Methods and apparatus for imaging elongate objects
US7801351 *Apr 20, 2006Sep 21, 2010General Electric CompanyMethod and system to manage digital medical images
EP1484017A1 *May 28, 2004Dec 8, 2004GE Medical Systems Global Technology Company LLCMethod and apparatus for acquisition of a composite image with a digital detector
EP2497424A1 *Mar 7, 2011Sep 12, 2012Agfa HealthcareRadiographic imaging method and apparatus.
WO2006044812A1 *Oct 14, 2005Apr 27, 2006Eastman Kodak CoMethods and apparatus for x-ray imaging of elongate objects
WO2012119856A1 *Feb 22, 2012Sep 13, 2012Agfa HealthcareRadiographic imaging method and apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification382/132, 348/E05.086
International ClassificationH04N5/32
Cooperative ClassificationH04N5/32, A61B6/5241
European ClassificationA61B6/52D6B2, H04N5/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 5, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHANG, YUN C.;YORKSTON, JOHN;FOOS, DAVID H.;REEL/FRAME:011619/0477;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010226 TO 20010228