Demonstration of accuracy and clinical versatility of mutual information for automatic multimodality image fusion using affine and thin-plate spline warped geometric deformations

Med Image Anal. 1997 Apr;1(3):195-206. doi: 10.1016/s1361-8415(97)85010-4.


This paper applies and evaluates an automatic mutual information-based registration algorithm across a broad spectrum of multimodal volume data sets. The algorithm requires little or no pre-processing, minimal user input and easily implements either affine, i.e. linear or thin-plate spline (TPS) warped registrations. We have evaluated the algorithm in phantom studies as well as in selected cases where few other algorithms could perform as well, if at all, to demonstrate the value of this new method. Pairs of multimodal gray-scale volume data sets were registered by iteratively changing registration parameters to maximize mutual information. Quantitative registration errors were assessed in registrations of a thorax phantom using PET/CT and in the National Library of Medicine's Visible Male using MRI T2-/T1-weighted acquisitions. Registrations of diverse clinical data sets were demonstrated including rotate-translate mapping of PET/MRI brain scans with significant missing data, full affine mapping of thoracic PET/CT and rotate-translate mapping of abdominal SPECT/CT. A five-point thin-plate spline (TPS) warped registration of thoracic PET/CT is also demonstrated. The registration algorithm converged in times ranging between 3.5 and 31 min for affine clinical registrations and 57 min for TPS warping. Mean error vector lengths for rotate-translate registrations were measured to be subvoxel in phantoms. More importantly the rotate-translate algorithm performs well even with missing data. The demonstrated clinical fusions are qualitatively excellent at all levels. We conclude that such automatic, rapid, robust algorithms significantly increase the likelihood that multimodality registrations will be routinely used to aid clinical diagnoses and post-therapeutic assessment in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology
  • Algorithms*
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed