Automatic MR volume registration and its evaluation for the pelvis and prostate

Baowei Fei, Andrew Wheaton, Zhenghong Lee, Jeffrey L. Duerk, David L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional (3D) mutual information registration method was created and used to register MRI volumes of the pelvis and prostate. It had special features to improve robustness. First, it used a multi-resolution approach and performed registration from low to high resolution. Second, it used two similarity measures, correlation coefficient at lower resolutions and mutual information at full resolution, because of their particular advantages. Third, we created a method to avoid local minima by restarting the registration with randomly perturbed parameters. The criterion for restarting was a correlation coefficient below an empirically determined threshold. Experiments determined the accuracy of registration under conditions found in potential applications in prostate cancer diagnosis, staging, treatment and interventional MRI (iMRI) guided therapies. Images were acquired in the diagnostic (supine) and treatment position (supine with legs raised). Images were also acquired as a function of bladder filling and the time interval between imaging sessions. Overall studies on three patients and three healthy volunteers, when both volumes in a pair were obtained in the diagnostic position under comparable conditions, bony landmarks and prostate 3D centroids were aligned within 1.6 ± 0.2 mm and 1.4 ± 0.2 mm, respectively, values only slightly larger than a voxel. Analysis suggests that actual errors are smaller because of the uncertainty in landmark localization and prostate segmentation. Between the diagnostic and treatment positions, bony landmarks continued to register well, but prostate centroids moved towards the posterior 2.8-3.4 mm. Manual cropping to remove voxels in the legs was necessary to register these images. In conclusion, automatic, rigid body registration is probably sufficiently accurate for many applications in prostate cancer. For potential iMRI-guided treatments, the small prostate displacement between the diagnostic and treatment positions can probably be avoided by acquiring volumes in similar positions and by reducing bladder and rectal volumes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-838
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Automatic MR volume registration and its evaluation for the pelvis and prostate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this