Real-time MRI motion estimation through an unsupervised k-space-driven deformable registration network (KS-RegNet)

Hua Chieh Shao, Tian Li, Michael J. Dohopolski, Jing Wang, Jing Cai, Jun Tan, Kai Wang, You Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose. Real-time three-dimensional (3D) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is challenging because of slow MR signal acquisition, leading to highly under-sampled k-space data. Here, we proposed a deep learning-based, k-space-driven deformable registration network (KS-RegNet) for real-time 3D MR imaging. By incorporating prior information, KS-RegNet performs a deformable image registration between a fully-sampled prior image and on-board images acquired from highly-under-sampled k-space data, to generate high-quality on-board images for real-time motion tracking. Methods. KS-RegNet is an end-to-end, unsupervised network consisting of an input data generation block, a subsequent U-Net core block, and following operations to compute data fidelity and regularization losses. The input data involved a fully-sampled, complex-valued prior image, and the k-space data of an on-board, real-time MR image (MRI). From the k-space data, under-sampled real-time MRI was reconstructed by the data generation block to input into the U-Net core. In addition, to train the U-Net core to learn the under-sampling artifacts, the k-space data of the prior image was intentionally under-sampled using the same readout trajectory as the real-time MRI, and reconstructed to serve an additional input. The U-Net core predicted a deformation vector field that deforms the prior MRI to on-board real-time MRI. To avoid adverse effects of quantifying image similarity on the artifacts-ridden images, the data fidelity loss of deformation was evaluated directly in k-space. Results. Compared with Elastix and other deep learning network architectures, KS-RegNet demonstrated better and more stable performance. The average (±s.d.) DICE coefficients of KS-RegNet on a cardiac dataset for the 5-, 9-, and 13-spoke k-space acquisitions were 0.884 ± 0.025, 0.889 ± 0.024, and 0.894 ± 0.022, respectively; and the corresponding average (±s.d.) center-of-mass errors (COMEs) were 1.21 ± 1.09, 1.29 ± 1.22, and 1.01 ± 0.86 mm, respectively. KS-RegNet also provided the best performance on an abdominal dataset. Conclusion. KS-RegNet allows real-time MRI generation with sub-second latency. It enables potential real-time MR-guided soft tissue tracking, tumor localization, and radiotherapy plan adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135012
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 7 2022


  • MR-guided radiotherapy
  • U-Net
  • deep learning
  • deformable image registration
  • motion estimation
  • real-time MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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