The desire to correct intensity nonuniformity in magnetic resonance images has led to the proliferation of nonuniformity-correction (NUC) algorithms with different theoretical underpinnings. In order to provide end users with a rational basis for selecting a given algorithm for a specific neuroscientific application, we evaluated the performance of six NUC algorithms. We used simulated and real MRI data volumes, including six repeat scans of the same subject, in order to rank the accuracy, precision, and stability of the nonuniformity corrections. We also compared algorithms using data volumes from different subjects and different (1.5T and 3.0T) MRI scanners in order to relate differences in algorithmic performance to intersubject variability and/or differences in scanner performance. In phantom studies, the correlation of the extracted with the applied nonuniformity was highest in the transaxial (left-to-right) direction and lowest in the axial (top-to-bottom) direction. Two of the six algorithms demonstrated a high degree of stability, as measured by the iterative application of the algorithm to its corrected output. While none of the algorithms performed ideally under all circumstances, locally adaptive methods generally outperformed nonadaptive methods.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.