Geodesic Information Flows: Spatially-Variant Graphs and Their Application to Segmentation and Fusion

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2015 Sep;34(9):1976-88. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2015.2418298. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Clinical annotations, such as voxel-wise binary or probabilistic tissue segmentations, structural parcellations, pathological regions-of-interest and anatomical landmarks are key to many clinical studies. However, due to the time consuming nature of manually generating these annotations, they tend to be scarce and limited to small subsets of data. This work explores a novel framework to propagate voxel-wise annotations between morphologically dissimilar images by diffusing and mapping the available examples through intermediate steps. A spatially-variant graph structure connecting morphologically similar subjects is introduced over a database of images, enabling the gradual diffusion of information to all the subjects, even in the presence of large-scale morphological variability. We illustrate the utility of the proposed framework on two example applications: brain parcellation using categorical labels and tissue segmentation using probabilistic features. The application of the proposed method to categorical label fusion showed highly statistically significant improvements when compared to state-of-the-art methodologies. Significant improvements were also observed when applying the proposed framework to probabilistic tissue segmentation of both synthetic and real data, mainly in the presence of large morphological variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging / methods
  • Young Adult