Enhanced optical head tracking for cranial radiation therapy: Supporting surface registration by cutaneous structures

Tobias Wissel*, Patrick Stüber, Benjamin Wagner, Ralf Bruder, Christian Erdmann, Christin Sophie Deutz, Benjamin Sack, Jirapong Manit, Achim Schweikard, Floris Ernst

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose To support surface registration in cranial radiation therapy by structural information. The risk for spatial ambiguities is minimized by using tissue thickness variations predicted from backscattered near-infrared (NIR) light from the forehead. Methods and Materials In a pilot study we recorded NIR surface scans by laser triangulation from 30 volunteers of different skin type. A ground truth for the soft-tissue thickness was segmented from MR scans. After initially matching the NIR scans to the MR reference, Gaussian processes were trained to predict tissue thicknesses from NIR backscatter. Moreover, motion starting from this initial registration was simulated by 5000 random transformations of the NIR scan away from the MR reference. Re-registration to the MR scan was compared with and without tissue thickness support. Results By adding prior knowledge to the backscatter features, such as incident angle and neighborhood information in the scanning grid, we showed that tissue thickness can be predicted with mean errors of <0.2 mm, irrespective of the skin type. With this additional information, the average registration error improved from 3.4 mm to 0.48 mm by a factor of 7. Misalignments of more than 1 mm were almost thoroughly (98.9%) pushed below 1 mm. Conclusions For almost all cases tissue-enhanced matching achieved better results than purely spatial registration. Ambiguities can be minimized if the cutaneous structures do not agree. This valuable support for surface registration increases tracking robustness and avoids misalignment of tumor targets far from the registration site.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)810-817
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2016


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