Multi-level adaptive segmentation of multi-parameter MR brain images

A. Zavaljevski, A. P. Dhawan, M. Gaskil, W. Ball, J. D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


MR brain image segmentation into several tissue classes is of significant interest to visualize and quantify individual anatomical structures. Traditionally, the segmentation is performed manually in a clinical environment that is operator dependent and may be difficult to reproduce. Though several algorithms have been investigated in the literature for computerized automatic segmentation of MR brain images, they are usually targeted to classify image into a limited number of classes such as white matter, gray matter, cerebrospinal fluid and specific lesions. We present a novel model-based method for the automatic segmentation and classification of multi-parameter MR brain images into a larger number of tissue classes of interest. Our model employs 15 brain tissue classes instead of the commonly used set of four classes, which were of clinical interest to neuroradiologists for following-up with patients suffering from cerebrovascular deficiency (CVD) and/or stroke. The model approximates the spatial distribution of tissue classes by a Gauss Markov random field and uses the maximum likelihood method to estimate the class probabilities and transitional probabilities for each pixel of the image. Multi-parameter MR brain images with T1, T2, proton density, Gd+T1, and perfusion imaging were used in segmentation and classification. In the development of the segmentation model, true class-membership of measured parameters was determined from manual segmentation of a set of normal and pathologic brain images by a team of neuroradiologists. The manual segmentation was performed using a human-computer interface specifically designed for pixel-by-pixel segmentation of brain images. The registration of corresponding images from different brains was accomplished using an elastic transformation. The presented segmentation method uses the multi-parameter model in adaptive segmentation of brain images on a pixel-by-pixel basis. The method was evaluated on a set of multi-parameter MR brain images of a twelve-year old patient 48h after suffering a stroke. The results of classification as compared to the manual segmentation of the same data show the efficacy and accuracy of the presented methods as well as its capability to create and learn new tissue classes. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalComputerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Brain image classification
  • Brain image segmentation
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Model-based adaptive segmentation
  • Multi-parameter MR brain imaging


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