Simulation of X-ray projections on GPU: benchmarking gVirtualXray with clinically realistic phantoms

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This study provides a quantitative comparison of images created using gVirtualXray (gVXR) to both Monte Carlo (MC) and real images of clinically realistic phantoms. gVirtualXray is an open-source framework that relies on the Beer-Lambert law to simulate X-ray images in realtime on a graphics processor unit (GPU) using triangular meshes. Images are generated with gVirtualXray and compared with a corresponding ground truth image of an anthropomorphic phantom: (i) an X-ray projection generated using a Monte Carlo simulation code, (ii) real digitally reconstructed radiographs (DRRs), (iii) computed tomography (CT) slices, and (iv) a real radiograph acquired with a clinical X-ray imaging system. When real images are involved, the simulations are used in an image registration framework so that the two images are aligned. The mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) between the images simulated with gVirtualXray and MC is 3.12%, the zero-mean normalised cross-correlation (ZNCC) is 99.96% and the structural similarity index (SSIM) is 0.99. The run-time is 10 days for MC and 23 ms with gVirtualXray. Images simulated using surface models segmented from a CT scan of the Lungman chest phantom were similar to (i) DRRs computed from the CT volume and (ii) an actual digital radiograph. CT slices reconstructed from images simulated with gVirtualXray were comparable to the corresponding slices of the original CT volume. When scattering can be ignored, accurate images that would take days using MC can be generated in milliseconds with gVirtualXray. This speed of execution enables the use of repetitive simulations with varying parameters, e.g. to generate training data for a deep-learning algorithm, and to minimise the objective function of an optimisation problem in image registration. The use of surface models enables the combination of X-ray simulation with real-time soft-tissue deformation and character animation, which can be deployed in virtual reality applications. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.]


  • X-rays, Computed tomography, Simulation, Monte Carlo, GPU programming, Image registration, DRR
Original languageEnglish
Article number107500
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Early online date31 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2023

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