Object-constrained meshless deformable algorithm for high speed 3D nonrigid registration between CT and CBCT

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Medical Physics








IGRT; Image registration; Prostate


Purpose: High-speed nonrigid registration between the planning CT and the treatment CBCT data is critical for real time image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) to improve the dose distribution and to reduce the toxicity to adjacent organs. The authors propose a new fully automatic 3D registration framework that integrates object-based global and seed constraints with the grayscale-based "demons" algorithm. Methods: Clinical objects were segmented on the planning CT images and were utilized as meshless deformable models during the nonrigid registration process. The meshless models reinforced a global constraint in addition to the grayscale difference between CT and CBCT in order to maintain the shape and the volume of geometrically complex 3D objects during the registration. To expedite the registration process, the framework was stratified into hierarchies, and the authors used a frequency domain formulation to diffuse the displacement between the reference and the target in each hierarchy. Also during the registration of pelvis images, they replaced the air region inside the rectum with estimated pixel values from the surrounding rectal wall and introduced an additional seed constraint to robustly track and match the seeds implanted into the prostate. The proposed registration framework and algorithm were evaluated on 15 real prostate cancer patients. For each patient, prostate gland, seminal vesicle, bladder, and rectum were first segmented by a radiation oncologist on planning CT images for radiotherapy planning purpose. The same radiation oncologist also manually delineated the tumor volumes and critical anatomical structures in the corresponding CBCT images acquired at treatment. These delineated structures on the CBCT were only used as the ground truth for the quantitative validation, while structures on the planning CT were used both as the input to the registration method and the ground truth in validation. By registering the planning CT to the CBCT, a displacement map was generated. Segmented volumes in the CT images deformed using the displacement field were compared against the manual segmentations in the CBCT images to quantitatively measure the convergence of the shape and the volume. Other image features were also used to evaluate the overall performance of the registration. Results: The algorithm was able to complete the segmentation and registration process within 1 min, and the superimposed clinical objects achieved a volumetric similarity measure of over 90% between the reference and the registered data. Validation results also showed that the proposed registration could accurately trace the deformation inside the target volume with average errors of less than 1 mm. The method had a solid performance in registering the simulated images with up to 20 Hounsfield unit white noise added. Also, the side by side comparison with the original demons algorithm demonstrated its improved registration performance over the local pixel-based registration approaches. Conclusions: Given the strength and efficiency of the algorithm, the proposed method has significant clinical potential to accelerate and to improve the CBCT delineation and targets tracking in online IGRT applications. © 2010 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

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