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This paper presents two new rebinning algorithms for the reconstruction of three-dimensional (3-D) positron emission tomography (PET) data. A rebinning algorithm is one that first sorts the 3-D data into an ordinary two-dimensional (2-D) data set containing one sinogram for each transaxial slice to be reconstructed; the 3-D image is then recovered by applying to each slice a 2-D reconstruction method such as filtered-backprojection. This approach allows a significant speedup of 3-D reconstruction, which is particularly useful for applications involving dynamic acquisitions or whole-body imaging. The first new algorithm is obtained by discretizing an exact analytical inversion formula. The second algorithm, called the Fourier rebinning algorithm (FORE), is approximate but allows an efficient implementation based on taking 2-D Fourier transforms of the data. This second algorithm was implemented and applied to data acquired with the new generation of PET systems and also to simulated data for a scanner with an 18° axial aperture. The reconstructed images were compared to those obtained with the 3-D reprojection algorithm (3DRP) which is the standard "exact" 3-D filtered-backprojection method. Results demonstrate that FORE provides a reliable alternative to 3DRP, while at the same time achieving an order of magnitude reduction in processing time.
Date of Publication: April 1997