Accurate CT/MR vessel-guided nonrigid registration of largely deformed livers

Eliana Vasquez Osorio, Mischa Hoogeman, Alejandra Mendez Romero, Piotr Wielopolski, AG Zolnay, Ben Heijmen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Computer tomography (CT) scans are used for designing radiotherapy treatment plans. However, the tumor is often better visible in magnetic resonance (MR) images. For liver stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), the planning CT scan is acquired while abdominal compression is applied to reduce tumor motion induced by breathing. However, diagnostic MR scans are acquired under voluntary breath-hold without the compression device. The resulting large differences in liver shape hinder the alignment of CT and MR image sets, which severely limits the integration of the information provided by these images. The purpose of the current study is to develop and validate a nonrigid registration method to align breath-hold MR images with abdominal-compressed CT images, using vessels that are automatically segmented within the liver. Methods: Contrast-enhanced MR and CT images of seven patients with liver cancer were used for this study. The registration method combines automatic vessel segmentation with an adapted version of thin-plate spline robust point matching. The vessel segmentation uses a multiscale vesselness measure, which allows vessels of various thicknesses to be segmented. The nonrigid registration is point-based, and progressively improves the correspondence and transformation between two point sets. Moreover, Results: Liver deformations in the range of 2.8-10.7 mm were found after rigid registration of the CT and MR scans. Low residual distances for vessel bifurcations (average 1.6, range 1.3-1.9 mm) and additional anatomical landmarks (1.5, 1.1-2.4 mm) were found after nonrigid registration. A large amount of outliers were identified (25%-55%) caused by vessels present in only one of the image sets and false positives in the vesselness measure. The nonrigid registration was capable of handling these Conclusions: An accurate CT/MR vessel-guided nonrigid registration for largely deformed livers was developed, tested, and validated. The method, combining vessel segmentation and point matching, was robust against differences in the segmented vessels. The authors conclude that nonrigid registration is required for accurate alignment of abdominal-compressed and uncompressed liver anatomy. Alignment of breath-hold MR and abdominal-compressed CT images can be used to improve tumor localization for
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2463-2477
Number of pages15
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-32-04

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