Volumetric Image Registration From Invariant Keypoints

IEEE Trans Image Process. 2017 Oct;26(10):4900-4910. doi: 10.1109/TIP.2017.2722689. Epub 2017 Jul 3.


We present a method for image registration based on 3D scale- and rotation-invariant keypoints. The method extends the scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) to arbitrary dimensions by making key modifications to orientation assignment and gradient histograms. Rotation invariance is proven mathematically. Additional modifications are made to extrema detection and keypoint matching based on the demands of image registration. Our experiments suggest that the choice of neighborhood in discrete extrema detection has a strong impact on image registration accuracy. In head MR images, the brain is registered to a labeled atlas with an average Dice coefficient of 92%, outperforming registration from mutual information as well as an existing 3D SIFT implementation. In abdominal CT images, the spine is registered with an average error of 4.82 mm. Furthermore, keypoints are matched with high precision in simulated head MR images exhibiting lesions from multiple sclerosis. These results were achieved using only affine transforms, and with no change in parameters across a wide variety of medical images. This paper is freely available as a cross-platform software library.