The lack of a standard image intensity scale in MRI causes many difficulties in image display and analysis. A two-step postprocessing method is proposed for standardizing the intensity scale in such a way that for the same MR protocol and body region, similar intensities will have similar tissue meaning. In the first step, the parameters of the standardizing transformation are "learned" from a set of images. In the second step, for each MR study these parameters are used to map their histogram into the standardized histogram. The method was tested quantitatively on 90 whole-brain studies of multiple sclerosis patients for several protocols and qualitatively for several other protocols and body regions. Measurements using mean squared difference showed that the standardized image intensities have statistically significantly (P < 0.01) more consistent range and meaning than the originals. Fixed gray level windows can be established for the standardized images and used for display without the need of per case adjustment. Preliminary results also indicate that the method facilitates improving the degree of automation of image segmentation. Magn Reson Med 42:1072-1081, 1999.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.