On the segmentation of vascular geometries from medical images



A comprehensive analysis of vascular morphology and the application of generic models of vascular biomechanics to specific patients require the ability of extracting a geometrical representation of the vascular anatomy from medical images. Owing to the wide range of clinical manifestations of vascular disease and associated imaging modalities and protocols, several segmentation methods have been proposed over the last 20 years and are available in the literature. In this paper, we review the methods of segmentation of angiographic medical images and identify major advantages and disadvantages of state-of-the-art techniques. We further discuss the performance of some of the most popular intensity-based and gradient-based methods using a set of images of peripheral by-pass grafts acquired with magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). We then propose a threshold front method for the segmentation of MRA images and assess its performance using two anatomic scale replica models, reproducing a normal and a stenotic peripheral artery. The threshold front algorithm is a simple, fast and parameter-free (still adaptive) method achieving segmentation errors below pixel resolution. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.