, Volume 31, Issue 11, pp 2215-2221,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Aug 2007

Liver Volumetry Plug and Play: Do It Yourself with ImageJ

Abstract

Background

A small remnant liver volume is an important risk factor for posthepatectomy liver failure and can be predicted accurately by computed tomography (CT) volumetry using radiologic image analysis software. Unfortunately, this software is expensive and usually requires support by a radiologist. ImageJ is a freely downloadable image analysis software package developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and brings liver volumetry to the surgeon’s desktop. We aimed to assess the accuracy of ImageJ for hepatic CT volumetry.

Methods

ImageJ was downloaded from http://www.rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/. Preoperative CT scans of 15 patients who underwent liver resection for colorectal cancer liver metastases were retrospectively analyzed. Scans were opened in ImageJ; and the liver, all metastases, and the intended parenchymal transection line were manually outlined on each slice. The area of each selected region, metastasis, resection specimen, and remnant liver was multiplied by the slice thickness to calculate volume. Volumes of virtual liver resection specimens measured with ImageJ were compared with specimen weights and calculated volumes obtained during pathology examination after resection.

Results

There was an excellent correlation between the volumes calculated with ImageJ and the actual measured weights of the resection specimens (r² = 0.98, p < 0.0001). The weight/volume ratio amounted to 0.88 ± 0.04 (standard error) and was in agreement with our earlier findings using CT-linked radiologic software.

Conclusion

ImageJ can be used for accurate hepatic CT volumetry on a personal computer. This application brings CT volumetry to the surgeon’s desktop at no expense and is particularly useful in cases of tertiary referred patients, who already have a proper CT scan on CD-ROM from the referring institution. Most likely the discrepancy between volume and weight results from exsanguination of the liver after resection.

Authorship statement; Simon A. W. G. Dello and Ronald M. van Dam contributed equally to the realization of the study and the manuscript and share first authorship.