Medical image registration

Phys Med Biol. 2001 Mar;46(3):R1-45. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/46/3/201.


Radiological images are increasingly being used in healthcare and medical research. There is, consequently, widespread interest in accurately relating information in the different images for diagnosis, treatment and basic science. This article reviews registration techniques used to solve this problem, and describes the wide variety of applications to which these techniques are applied. Applications of image registration include combining images of the same subject from different modalities, aligning temporal sequences of images to compensate for motion of the subject between scans, image guidance during interventions and aligning images from multiple subjects in cohort studies. Current registration algorithms can, in many cases, automatically register images that are related by a rigid body transformation (i.e. where tissue deformation can be ignored). There has also been substantial progress in non-rigid registration algorithms that can compensate for tissue deformation, or align images from different subjects. Nevertheless many registration problems remain unsolved, and this is likely to continue to be an active field of research in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Diagnostic Imaging* / trends
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Registries*
  • Research