Evaluation of volume-based and surface-based brain image registration methods

Neuroimage. 2010 May 15;51(1):214-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.091. Epub 2010 Feb 1.


Establishing correspondences across brains for the purposes of comparison and group analysis is almost universally done by registering images to one another either directly or via a template. However, there are many registration algorithms to choose from. A recent evaluation of fully automated nonlinear deformation methods applied to brain image registration was restricted to volume-based methods. The present study is the first that directly compares some of the most accurate of these volume registration methods with surface registration methods, as well as the first study to compare registrations of whole-head and brain-only (de-skulled) images. We used permutation tests to compare the overlap or Hausdorff distance performance for more than 16,000 registrations between 80 manually labeled brain images. We compared every combination of volume-based and surface-based labels, registration, and evaluation. Our primary findings are the following: 1. de-skulling aids volume registration methods; 2. custom-made optimal average templates improve registration over direct pairwise registration; and 3. resampling volume labels on surfaces or converting surface labels to volumes introduces distortions that preclude a fair comparison between the highest ranking volume and surface registration methods using present resampling methods. From the results of this study, we recommend constructing a custom template from a limited sample drawn from the same or a similar representative population, using the same algorithm used for registering brains to the template.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Software
  • Young Adult