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Med Image Anal. 2011 Feb;15(1):96-111. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Sep 24.

A non-rigid registration method for serial lower extremity hybrid SPECT/CT imaging.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


Small animal X-ray computed tomographic (microCT) imaging of the lower extremities permits evaluation of arterial growth in models of hindlimb ischemia, and when applied serially can provide quantitative information about disease progression and aid in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions. The quantification of changes in tissue perfusion and concentration of molecular markers concurrently obtained using nuclear imaging requires the ability to non-rigidly register the microCT images over time, a task made more challenging by the potentially large changes in the positions of the legs due to articulation. While non-rigid registration methods have been extensively used in the evaluation of individual organs, application in whole body imaging has been limited, primarily because the scale of possible displacements and deformations is large resulting in poor convergence of most methods. In this paper we present a new method based on the extended demons algorithm that uses a level-set representation of the body contour and skeletal structure as an input. The proposed serial registration method reflects the natural physical moving combination of mouse anatomy in which the movement of bones is the framework for body movements, and the movement of skin constrains the detailed movements of the specific segmented body regions. We applied our method to both the registration of serial microCT mouse images and the quantification of microSPECT component of the serially hybrid microCT-SPECT images demonstrating improved performance as compared to existing registration techniques.

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