Radiotherapy for organs with respiratory motion has motivated the development of dynamic volume lung imaging with computed tomography (4D-CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (4D-MRI). 4D-CT can be realized in helical (continuous couch translation during image acquisition) or cine mode (translation step-by-step), either acquired prospectively or reconstructed retrospectively with temporal resolutions of up to 250 msec. Long exposure times result in high radiation dose and restrict 4D-CT to specific indications (ie, radiotherapy planning). Dynamic MRI accelerated by parallel imaging and echo sharing reaches temporal resolutions of up to 10 images/sec (2D+t) or 1 volume/s (3D+t) that allow analyzing respiratory motion of the lung and its tumors. Near isotropic 4D-MRI can be used to assess tumor displacement, chest wall invasion, and segmental respiratory mechanics. Limited temporal resolution of dynamic volume acquisitions (in their current implementation) may lead to an overestimation of tumor size, as the mass is volume averaged into many voxels during motion. Nevertheless, 4D-MRI allows for repeated and prolonged measurements without radiation exposure and therefore appears to be appropriate for patient selection in motion-adapted radiotherapy as well as for a broad spectrum of scientific applications.
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