TU-CD-BRA-05: Atlas Selection for Multi-Atlas-Based Image Segmentation Using Surrogate Modeling




The growing size and heterogeneity in training atlas necessitates sophisticated schemes to identify only the most relevant atlases for the specific multi-atlas-based image segmentation problem. This study aims to develop a model to infer the inaccessible oracle geometric relevance metric from surrogate image similarity metrics, and based on such model, provide guidance to atlas selection in multi-atlas-based image segmentation.


We relate the oracle geometric relevance metric in label space to the surrogate metric in image space, by a monotonically non-decreasing function with additive random perturbations. Subsequently, a surrogate's ability to prognosticate the oracle order for atlas subset selection is quantified probabilistically. Finally, important insights and guidance are provided for the design of fusion set size, balancing the competing demands to include the most relevant atlases and to exclude the most irrelevant ones. A systematic solution is derived based on an optimization framework. Model verification and performance assessment is performed based on clinical prostate MR images.


The proposed surrogate model was exemplified by a linear map with normally distributed perturbation, and verified with several commonly-used surrogates, including MSD, NCC and (N)MI. The derived behaviors of different surrogates in atlas selection and their corresponding performance in ultimate label estimate were validated. The performance of NCC and (N)MI was similarly superior to MSD, with a 10% higher atlas selection probability and a segmentation performance increase in DSC by 0.10 with the first and third quartiles of (0.83, 0.89), compared to (0.81, 0.89). The derived optimal fusion set size, valued at 7/8/8/7 for MSD/NCC/MI/NMI, agreed well with the appropriate range [4, 9] from empirical observation.


This work has developed an efficacious probabilistic model to characterize the image-based surrogate metric on atlas selection. Analytical insights lead to valid guiding principles on fusion set size design.