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Neuroimage. 2011 Oct 1;58(3):805-17. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.06.064. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

Automatic segmentation of neonatal images using convex optimization and coupled level sets.

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Department of Radiology and BRIC, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Accurate segmentation of neonatal brain MR images remains challenging mainly due to their poor spatial resolution, inverted contrast between white matter and gray matter, and high intensity inhomogeneity. Most existing methods for neonatal brain segmentation are atlas-based and voxel-wise. Although active contour/surface models with geometric information constraint have been successfully applied to adult brain segmentation, they are not fully explored in the neonatal image segmentation. In this paper, we propose a novel neonatal image segmentation method by combining local intensity information, atlas spatial prior, and cortical thickness constraint in a single level-set framework. Besides, we also provide a robust and reliable tissue surface initialization for the proposed method by using a convex optimization technique. Thus, tissue segmentation, as well as inner and outer cortical surface reconstruction, can be obtained simultaneously. The proposed method has been tested on a large neonatal dataset, and the validation on 10 neonatal brain images (with manual segmentations) shows very promising results.

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