Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomotography (CT), or other diagnostic modalities may employ a three-step procedure during initial (“scout”) cranial pre-scans that corrects for patient positioning (i.e., roll, yaw and pitch) to reduce inter- and intra-patient variation, thereby enhancing the diagnostic and comparative value of subsequent detail scans even across different diagnostic platforms. In MRI, for instance, locating the saggital sinus (SS) and optimizing a line to bisect the brain through this SS may be automated to correct for roll and yaw. By then identifying the contour of the corpus callosum in a lateral saggital scout scan, the Talairach anterior commissure (AC)—posterior commissure (PC) reference line may be found for correcting pitch. Prescription of detailed scans are improved, especially when the three-step correction is repeated periodically identifying the need to repeat a detailed scan or to adjust the coordinates of a subsequent scan.
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1. A method of identifying a head position of a patient undergoing diagnostic imaging, comprising:
- obtaining a diagnostic image of a patient's head with a diagnostic imaging machine;
- performing an automated image processing operation to determine coordinates of a Talairach anterior commissure (AC)—posterior commissure (PC) reference line within the diagnostic image by identifying a line passing through a hard palate on the diagnostic image and utilizing the identified line to approximate the Talairach AC-PC reference line as about 12 degrees more extended than the hard palate in a lateral midline image; and
defining a coordinate system of the diagnostic image with reference to the Talairach AC-PC reference line.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
- prescribing a subsequent scan based on the identified Talairach AC-PC reference line and coordinate system; and
- repeating the automated image processing operation to determine current coordinates of the Talairach AC-PC reference for accommodating changes in patient head position since the previous position determination.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein obtaining a diagnostic image comprises obtaining a roll and yaw corrected thin section midsagittal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) image of the patient's head.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein obtaining a midsagittal MRI image of a patient's head further comprises:
- obtaining at least two scout views;
- identifying midline features to permit correction of roll and yaw; and
- obtaining a midsagittal MRJ image based on identified midline features.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein obtaining a midsagittal MRI image of a patient's head when identifying midline features to permit correction of roll and yaw further comprises:
- performing at least one rapid scan operatively configured to accentuate venous blood flow in the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) in a plane selected from a group consisting of coronal scan, axial scan and oblique scan of the patient's head;
- identifying the SSS in cross-section in the at least one rapid scan;
- identifying a line that bisects the brain with the line passing through the SSS cross-section; and
- defining an attitude correction selected from a group consisting of roll correction and yaw correction corresponding to the selected plane for subsequent scans based on the identified line that bisects the brain.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein obtaining a diagnostic image comprises obtaining a lateral computerized tomography (CT) scout image.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein obtaining a lateral CT scout image of a patient's head further comprises physically adjusting patient's head position relative to a scanner that obtains the lateral CT scout image for minimizing roll and yaw visually.
8. A program product embodied in a tangible, recordable media, comprising:
- (a) a program configured to receive a thin section diagnostic image of a patient's brain from a CT diagnostic imaging machine and to determine coordinates of a Talairach anterior commissure (AC)— posterior commissure (PC) reference line within the thin section diagnostic image and to define a coordinate system of the diagnostic image with reference to the Talairach AC-PC reference line; and
- (b) a tangible signal bearing media bearing the program; wherein the diagnostic image is a lateral computerized tomography (CT) scout image, wherein the program is further configured to receive a midline sagittal MR scan from an MR diagnostic imaging machine, and wherein the program is further configured to:
- (a) identify a line passing through the hard palate on the MR scan;
- (b) calculate an angle between the patient's hard palate and the Talairach AC-PC reference line in the MR scan;
- (c) identify a line passing through the patient's hard palate on the diagnostic image; and,
- (d) utilize the calculated angle to adjust a CT pitch prescription.
9. The program product of claim 8, wherein determining coordinates of the Talairach AC-PC reference line comprises iteratively searching for and identifying landmarks on the diagnostic image, these landmarks selected from the group consisting of superior sagittal sinus (SSS), corpus callosum, a rostrum of the corpus callosum, an inferior edge splenium of the corpus callosum, mammilary bodies, fornices, and a superior margin of a brainstem.
10. The program product of claim 8, wherein the diagnostic image is a roll and yaw corrected sagittal image section, and wherein wherein determining coordinates of the Talairach AC-PC reference line comprises:
- a) referencing a template dataset with a known Talairach AC-PC reference line; and
- b) iteratively minimizing a difference between the sagittal image section and the template dataset.
11. The program product of claim 10, wherein referencing the template dataset further comprises obtaining a previous scan of the same patient with a known Talairach AC-PC reference line.
12. The program product of claim 10, wherein referencing the template dataset further comprises obtaining an institutional standard dataset of an averaged template with a known Talairach AC-PC reference line.