Purpose: MRI-based skull segmentation is a useful procedure for many imaging applications. This study describes a methodology for automatic segmentation of the complete skull from a single T1-weighted volume.
Methods: The skull is estimated using a multi-atlas segmentation approach. Using a whole head computed tomography (CT) scan database, the skull in a new MRI volume is detected by nonrigid image registration of the volume to every CT, and combination of the individual segmentations by label-fusion. We have compared Majority Voting, Simultaneous Truth and Performance Level Estimation (STAPLE), Shape Based Averaging (SBA), and the Selective and Iterative Method for Performance Level Estimation (SIMPLE) algorithms.
Results: The pipeline has been evaluated quantitatively using images from the Retrospective Image Registration Evaluation database (reaching an overlap of 72.46 ± 6.99%), a clinical CT-MR dataset (maximum overlap of 78.31 ± 6.97%), and a whole head CT-MRI pair (maximum overlap 78.68%). A qualitative evaluation has also been performed on MRI acquisition of volunteers.
Conclusion: It is possible to automatically segment the complete skull from MRI data using a multi-atlas and label fusion approach. This will allow the creation of complete MRI-based tissue models that can be used in electromagnetic dosimetry applications and attenuation correction in PET/MR.
Keywords: MRI; atlas-based; label fusion; skull segmentation; tissue models.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.