, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 299-320
Date: 17 May 2011

Segmentation of multiple sclerosis lesions in MR images: a review

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Abstract

Introduction

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease that the parts of the nervous system through the lesions generated in the white matter of the brain. It brings about disabilities in different organs of the body such as eyes and muscles. Early detection of MS and estimation of its progression are critical for optimal treatment of the disease.

Methods

For diagnosis and treatment evaluation of MS lesions, they may be detected and segmented in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the brain. However, due to the large amount of MRI data to be analyzed, manual segmentation of the lesions by clinical experts translates into a very cumbersome and time consuming task. In addition, manual segmentation is subjective and prone to human errors. Several groups have developed computerized methods to detect and segment MS lesions. These methods are not categorized and compared in the past.

Results

This paper reviews and compares various MS lesion segmentation methods proposed in recent years. It covers conventional methods like multilevel thresholding and region growing, as well as more recent Bayesian methods that require parameter estimation algorithms. It also covers parameter estimation methods like expectation maximization and adaptive mixture model which are among unsupervised techniques as well as kNN and Parzen window methods that are among supervised techniques.

Conclusions

Integration of knowledge-based methods such as atlas-based approaches with Bayesian methods increases segmentation accuracy. In addition, employing intelligent classifiers like Fuzzy C-Means, Fuzzy Inference Systems, and Artificial Neural Networks reduces misclassified voxels.