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Monte Carlo techniques have become popular in different areas of medical physics with advantage of powerful computing systems. In particular, they have been extensively applied to simulate processes involving random behavior and to quantify physical parameters that are difficult or even impossible to calculate by experimental measurements. Recent nuclear medical imaging innovations such as single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), and multiple emission tomography (MET) are ideal for Monte Carlo modeling techniques because of the stochastic nature of radiation emission, transport and detection processes. Factors which have contributed to the wider use include improved models of radiation transport processes, the practicality of application with the development of acceleration schemes and the improved speed of computers. This paper presents derivation and methodological basis for this approach and critically reviews their areas of application in nuclear imaging. An overview of existing simulation programs is provided and illustrated with examples of some useful features of such sophisticated tools in connection with common computing facilities and more powerful multiple-processor parallel processing systems. Current and future trends in the field are also discussed.
Key words: Monte Carlo simulations, SPECT, PET, Scatter, Detectors.
Medical Physics, 26 574-608 (1999)