Automatic Segmentation of Brain Structures for Radiation Therapy Planning
Delineation of structures to irradiate (the tumors) as well as structures to be spared (e.g., optic nerve, brainstem, or eyes) is required for advanced radiotherapy techniques. Due to a lack of time and the number of patients to be treated these cannot always be segmented accurately which may lead to suboptimal plans. A possible solution is to develop methods to identify these structures automatically. This study tests the hypothesis that a fully automatic, atlas-based segmentation method can be used to segment most brain structures needed for radiotherapy plans even tough tumors may deform normal anatomy substantially. This is accomplished by registering an atlas with a subject volume using a combination of rigid and non-rigid registration algorithms. Segmented structures in the atlas volume are then mapped to the corresponding structures in the subject volume using the computed transformations. The method we propose has been tested on two sets of data, i.e., adults and children/young adults. For the first set of data, contours obtained automatically have been compared to contours delineated manually by three physicians. For the other set qualitative results are presented.