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Topic 4: Image Characteristics

Image Matrix
What is an image matrix?
- Matrix Series of rows & columns (of pixels) that give form to the digital image (Bontrager Glossary)
- A layout of cells in rows & columns (Bushong Glossary)
- Rows & columns each has assigned a number which displayed as an optical density or brightness level on
the monitor.
- (Optical) Density the degree of blackening; it has a numeric value which can be present in varying
degrees from completely black to almost clear. (Bushong Chapter 20)
- Original format (EMI) 80 x 80 matrix for a total of(80x80) 6400 individual cells of information, the current
imaging system provide matrices of 512 x 512 results to 262,144 cells of information.

Pixel (picture element)

- Matrix
- The cell (unit) of digital image
- Cell of information
- An individual matrix box
- Two-dimensional representation of a corresponding (equivalent) tissue volume (voxel). (fig. 29-18 Bushong
chapter 29)

o Volume element; correspond to a three-dimensional tissue volume (height, width & Depth).
o Each pixel represents a voxel when an image is viewed.

- Where each pixel contains numeric information called CT number or Hounsfield unit (HU).

Hounsfield Unit
- Also know as Hounsfield scale
- named after Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, is a quantitative scale for describing radiodensity. (Internet)
- The Hounsfield unit (HU) scale is a linear transformation of the original linear attenuation coefficient measurement into
one in which the radiodensity of distilled water at standard pressure and temperature (STP). (Internet)

CT number / Hounsfield Unit

- Number that represents the attenuation value for each pixel. (Bontrager Glossary)
- Optical density & Brightness level as displayed on the monitor.
- Numbers level ranges from -1000 to +1000 for each pixel.
- Table 29-1: CT Number for Various tissues. (Bushong Chapter 29)
- A precise CT number of a pixel is related to the attenuation coefficient (x-ray) of the tissue contained in the
o Any of the factors of a product considered in relation to a specific factor
o A number that serves as a measure of some characteristics

Linear Attenuation coefficient

o Numeric expression of the decrease in radiation (attenuation) intensity that follows transmission through matter

- Relative probability interaction between the differential absorption remains constant.

Topic 5: Image Reconstruction

Field of View (FOV)

- The diameter of image reconstruction.

Pixel size = FOV

Matrix size
Filtered back Projection
- The process in which image are stored in computer memory when detector acquired projection during scanning.

- Refers to mathematical function (x-ray is for metal filter)

Filtered back projection

Example Fig. 29-19 Four pixel matrix


- CT images display a variety of shades of gray.

- Do not read the book Fifty shades of gray
- Low-density structures such as lungs, air filled structures will attenuate very little x-ray beam.
- High-density structures such as bones & contrast media attenuate all or nearly all of the beam.
- Linear attenuation coefficient (degree of attenuation) are converted into numeric scale called CT numbers.
- Scanners are calibrated with water as zero (0) basis.
- Tissue type & CT numbers

Tissue type CT Numbers Appearance

Cortical bone +1000 (up to +3,000) White
Muscle +50 Gray
White matter +45 Light Gray
Gray Matter +40 Gray
Blood +20 Gray (White if IC+ is present)
CSF +15 Gray
Water 0 (Baseline)
Fat -100 Dark gray to black
Lung -200 Dark gray to black
Air (Produces the least of attenuation) -1000 Black

- (WW) Window Width refers to the range of CT numbers that are displayed as shades of gray.
- (WL) Window Level controls image brightness or determines the CT number that will be the center of the
window width.
- Both WW & WL called Window Center
- Bitch a female dog.
- Pitch a ratio that reflects the relationship between table speed & slice thickness
- Pitch formula = Couch movement per 360 degrees rotation of tube