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Magn Reson Imaging. 2011 Jun;29(5):693-700. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2011.02.023. Epub 2011 May 5.

Prospective image registration for automated scan prescription of follow-up knee images in quantitative studies.

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Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.


Consistent scan prescription for MRI of the knee is very important for accurate comparison of images in a longitudinal study. However, consistent scan region selection is difficult due to the complexity of the knee joint. We propose a novel method for registering knee images using a mutual information registration algorithm to align images in a baseline and follow-up exam. The output of the registration algorithm, three translations and three Euler angles, is then used to redefine the region to be imaged and acquire an identical oblique imaging volume in the follow-up exam as in the baseline. This algorithm is robust to articulation of the knee and anatomical abnormalities due to disease (e.g., osteophytes). The registration method is performed only on the distal femur and is not affected by the proximal tibia or soft tissues. We have incorporated this approach in a clinical MR system and have demonstrated its utility in automatically obtaining consistent scan regions between baseline and follow-up examinations, thus improving the precision of quantitative evaluation of cartilage. Results show an improvement with prospective registration in the coefficient of variation for cartilage thickness, cartilage volume and T2 relaxation measurements.

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