The Complexity and Fractal Geometry of Nuclear Medicine Images

Mol Imaging Biol. 2019 Jun;21(3):401-409. doi: 10.1007/s11307-018-1236-5.


Irregularity in shape and behavior is the main feature of every anatomical system, including human organs, tissues, cells, and sub-cellular entities. It has been shown that this property cannot be quantified by means of the classical Euclidean geometry, which is only able to describe regular geometrical objects. In contrast, fractal geometry has been widely applied in several scientific fields. This rapid growth has also produced substantial insights in the biomedical imaging. Consequently, particular attention has been given to the identification of pathognomonic patterns of "shape" in anatomical entities and their changes from natural to pathological states. Despite the advantages of fractal mathematics and several studies demonstrating its applicability to oncological research, many researchers and clinicians remain unaware of its potential. Therefore, this review aims to summarize the complexity and fractal geometry of nuclear medicine images.

Keywords: Anatomy; Complexity; Fractals; Geometry; Nuclear medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fractals*
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Nuclear Medicine*
  • Radionuclide Imaging*