Automatic segmentation of cerebral white matter hyperintensities using only 3D FLAIR images

Rita Lopes Simoes, C. Monninghoff, M. Dlugaj, C. Weimar, I. Wanke, Anne-Marie van Cappellen van Walsum, Cornelis H. Slump

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Magnetic Resonance (MR) white matter hyperintensities have been shown to predict an increased risk of developing cognitive decline. However, their actual role in the conversion to dementia is still not fully understood. Automatic segmentation methods can help in the screening and monitoring of Mild Cognitive Impairment patients who take part in large population-based studies. Most existing segmentation approaches use multimodal MR images. However, multiple acquisitions represent a limitation in terms of both patient comfort and computational complexity of the algorithms. In this work, we propose an automatic lesion segmentation method that uses only three-dimensional Fluid-Attenuation Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) images. We use a modified context sensitive Gaussian Mixture Model to determine voxel class probabilities, followed by correction of FLAIR artifacts. We evaluate the method against the manual segmentation performed by an experienced neuroradiologist and compare the results with other unimodal segmentation approaches. Finally, we apply our method to the segmentation of Multiple Sclerosis lesions by using a publicly available benchmark dataset. Results show a similar performance to other state-of-the-art multimodal methods, as well as to the human rater.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1182-1189
Number of pages16
JournalMagnetic resonance imaging
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • EWI-22836
  • IR-86196
  • METIS-297595

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