White matter fiber tract segmentation in DT-MRI using geometric flows
In this paper, we present a 3D geometric flow designed to segment the main core of fiber tracts in diffusion tensor magnetic resonance images. The fundamental assumption of our fiber segmentation technique is that adjacent voxels in a tract have similar properties of diffusion. The fiber segmentation is carried out with a front propagation algorithm constructed to fill the whole fiber tract. The front is a 3D surface that evolves with a propagation speed proportional to a measure indicating the similarity of diffusion between the tensors lying on the surface and their neighbors in the direction of propagation. We use a level set implementation to assure a stable and accurate evolution of the surface and to handle changes of topology of the surface during the evolution process. The fiber tract segmentation method does not need a regularized tensor field since the surface is automatically smoothed as it propagates. The smoothing is done by an intrinsic surface force, based on the minimal principal curvature. This segmentation can be used for obtaining quantitative measures of the diffusion in the fiber tracts and it can also be used for white matter registration and for surgical planning.