A review of atlas-based segmentation for magnetic resonance brain images

ArticleinComputer methods and programs in biomedicine 104(3):e158-77 · August 2011with100 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.90 · DOI: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2011.07.015 · Source: PubMed


    Normal and abnormal brains can be segmented by registering the target image with an atlas. Here, an atlas is defined as the combination of an intensity image (template) and its segmented image (the atlas labels). After registering the atlas template and the target image, the atlas labels are propagated to the target image. We define this process as atlas-based segmentation. In recent years, researchers have investigated registration algorithms to match atlases to query subjects and also strategies for atlas construction. In this paper we present a review of the automated approaches for atlas-based segmentation of magnetic resonance brain images. We aim to point out the strengths and weaknesses of atlas-based methods and suggest new research directions. We use two different criteria to present the methods. First, we refer to the algorithms according to their atlas-based strategy: label propagation, multi-atlas methods, and probabilistic techniques. Subsequently, we classify the methods according to their medical target: the brain and its internal structures, tissue segmentation in healthy subjects, tissue segmentation in fetus, neonates and elderly subjects, and segmentation of damaged brains. A quantitative comparison of the results reported in the literature is also presented.