Probabilistic Segmentation of Brain Tissue in MR Imaging

Neuroimage. 2005 Oct 1;27(4):795-804. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.05.046.


A new method has been developed for probabilistic segmentation of five different types of brain structures: white matter, gray matter, cerebro-spinal fluid without ventricles, ventricles and white matter lesion in cranial MR imaging. The algorithm is based on information from T1-weighted (T1-w), inversion recovery (IR), proton density-weighted (PD), T2-weighted (T2-w) and fluid attenuation inversion recovery (FLAIR) scans. It uses the K-Nearest Neighbor classification technique that builds a feature space from spatial information and voxel intensities. The technique generates for each tissue type an image representing the probability per voxel being part of it. By application of thresholds on these probability maps, binary segmentations can be obtained. A similarity index (SI) and a probabilistic SI (PSI) were calculated for quantitative evaluation of the results. The influence of each image type on the performance was investigated by alternately leaving out one of the five scan types. This procedure showed that the incorporation of the T1-w, PD or T2-w did not significantly improve the segmentation results. Further investigation indicated that the combination of IR and FLAIR was optimal for segmentation of the five brain tissue types. Evaluation with respect to the gold standard showed that the SI-values for all tissues exceeded 0.8 and all PSI-values exceeded 0.7, implying an excellent agreement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / physiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / classification
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Reference Standards