International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery

, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 371–383

X-ray image segmentation for vertebral mobility analysis

Original article

DOI: 10.1007/s11548-008-0149-1

Cite this article as:
Benjelloun, M. & Mahmoudi, S. Int J CARS (2008) 2: 371. doi:10.1007/s11548-008-0149-1



The goal of this work is to extract the parameters determining vertebral motion and its variation during flexion–extension movements using a computer vision tool for estimating and analyzing vertebral mobility.

Materials and Methods

To compute vertebral body motion parameters we propose a comparative study between two segmentation methods proposed and applied to lateral X-ray images of the cervical spine. The two vertebra contour detection methods include (1) a discrete dynamic contour model (DDCM) and (2) a template matching process associated with a polar signature system. These two methods not only enable vertebra segmentation but also extract parameters that can be used to evaluate vertebral mobility. Lateral cervical spine views including 100 views in flexion, extension and neutral orientations were available for evaluation. Vertebral body motion was evaluated by human observers and using automatic methods.


The results provided by the automated approaches were consistent with manual measures obtained by 15 human observers.


The automated techniques provide acceptable results for the assessment of vertebral body mobility in flexion and extension on lateral views of the cervical spine.


Vertebral mobility analysisX-ray images segmentationContour detectionTemplate matchingDiscrete dynamic contour model (DDCM)

Supplementary material

Copyright information

© CARS 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Science Department, Faculty of Engineering of MonsMonsBelgium