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Surface extraction and thickness measurement of the articular cartilage from MR images using directional gradient vector flow snakes

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5 Author(s)
Jinshan Tang ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Virginia Univ., Charlottesville, VA, USA ; S. Millington ; S. T. Acton ; J. Crandall
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The accuracy of the surface extraction of magnetic resonance images of highly congruent joints with thin articular cartilage layers has a significant effect on the percentage errors and reproducibility of quantitative measurements(e.g., thickness and volume) of the articular cartilage. Traditional techniques such as gradient-based edge detection are not suitable for the extraction of these surfaces. This paper studies the extraction of articular cartilage surfaces using snakes, and a gradient vector flow (GVF)-based external force is proposed for this application. In order to make the GVF snake more stable and converge to the correct surfaces, directional gradient is used to produce the gradient vector flow. Experimental results show that the directional GVF snake is more robust than the traditional GVF snake for this application. Based on the newly developed snake model, an articular cartilage surface extraction algorithm is developed. Thickness is computed based on the surfaces extracted using the proposed algorithm. In order to make the thickness measurement more reproducible, a new thickness computation approach, which is called T-norm,is introduced. Experimental results show that the thickness measurement obtained by the new thickness computation approach has better reproducibility than that obtained by the existing thickness computation approaches

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 5 )