Document Type dissertation Author Name Huang, Wei URN etd-050207-145713 Title Automatic Affine and Elastic Registration Strategies for Multi-dimensional Medical Images Degree PhD Department Mechanical Engineering Advisors John M. Sullivan, Jr., Advisor Reinhold Ludwig, Committee Member Allen H. Hoffman, Committee Member Jean King, Committee Member Yiming (Kevin) Rong, Committee Member Keywords MRI Image Reconstruction Image Registration Medical Image Date of Presentation/Defense 2007-04-26 Availability unrestricted
Medical images have been used increasingly for diagnosis, treatment planning, monitoring disease processes, and other medical applications. A large variety of medical imaging modalities exists including CT, X-ray, MRI, Ultrasound, etc. Frequently a group of images need to be compared to one another and/or combined for research or cumulative purposes. In many medical studies, multiple images are acquired from subjects at different times or with different imaging modalities. Misalignment inevitably occurs, causing anatomical and/or functional feature shifts within the images. Computerized image registration (alignment) approaches can offer automatic and accurate image alignments without extensive user involvement and provide tools for visualizing combined images.
This dissertation focuses on providing automatic image registration strategies. After a through review of existing image registration techniques, we identified two registration strategies that enhance the current field: (1) an automated rigid body and affine registration using voxel similarity measurements based on a sequential hybrid genetic algorithm, and (2) an automated deformable registration approach based upon a linear elastic finite element formulation. Both methods streamlined the registration process. They are completely automatic and require no user intervention.
The proposed registration strategies were evaluated with numerous 2D and 3D MR images with a variety of tissue structures, orientations and dimensions. Multiple registration pathways were provided with guidelines for their applications. The sequential genetic algorithm mimics the pathway of an expert manually doing registration. Experiments demonstrated that the sequential genetic algorithm registration provides high alignment accuracy and is reliable for brain tissues. It avoids local minima/maxima traps of conventional optimization techniques, and does not require any preprocessing such as threshold, smoothing, segmentation, or definition of base points or edges.
The elastic model was shown to be highly effective to accurately align areas of interest that are automatically extracted from the images, such as brains. Using a finite element method to get the displacement of each element node by applying a boundary mapping, this method provides an accurate image registration with excellent boundary alignment of each pair of slices and consequently align the entire volume automatically.
This dissertation presented numerous volume alignments. Surface geometries were created directly from the aligned segmented images using the Multiple Material Marching Cubes algorithm. Using the proposed registration strategies, multiple subjects were aligned to a standard MRI reference, which is aligned to a segmented reference atlas. Consequently, multiple subjects are aligned to the segmented atlas and a full fMRI analysis is possible.
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