Reliable two-dimensional phase unwrapping method using region growing and local linear estimation

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Abstract

In MRI, phase maps can provide useful information about parameters such as field inhomogeneity, velocity of blood flow, and the chemical shift between water and fat. As phase is defined in the (−π,π] range, however, phase wraps often occur, which complicates image analysis and interpretation. This work presents a two-dimensional phase unwrapping algorithm that uses quality-guided region growing and local linear estimation. The quality map employs the variance of the second-order partial derivatives of the phase as the quality criterion. Phase information from unwrapped neighboring pixels is used to predict the correct phase of the current pixel using a linear regression method. The algorithm was tested on both simulated and real data, and is shown to successfully unwrap phase images that are corrupted by noise and have rapidly changing phase. Magn Reson Med, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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