, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 787–807 | Cite as

Automated detection of multiple sclerosis lesions in serial brain MRI

  • Xavier LladóEmail author
  • Onur Ganiler
  • Arnau Oliver
  • Robert Martí
  • Jordi Freixenet
  • Laia Valls
  • Joan C. Vilanova
  • Lluís Ramió-Torrentà
  • Àlex Rovira
Continuing Education



Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious disease typically occurring in the brain whose diagnosis and efficacy of treatment monitoring are vital. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is frequently used in serial brain imaging due to the rich and detailed information provided.


Time-series analysis of images is widely used for MS diagnosis and patient follow-up. However, conventional manual methods are time-consuming, subjective, and error-prone. Thus, the development of automated techniques for the detection and quantification of MS lesions is a major challenge.


This paper presents an up-to-date review of the approaches which deal with the time-series analysis of brain MRI for detecting active MS lesions and quantifying lesion load change. We provide a comprehensive reference source for researchers in which several approaches to change detection and quantification of MS lesions are investigated and classified. We also analyze the results provided by the approaches, discuss open problems, and point out possible future trends.


Lesion detection approaches are required for the detection of static lesions and for diagnostic purposes, while either quantification of detected lesions or change detection algorithms are needed to follow up MS patients. However, there is not yet a single approach that can emerge as a standard for the clinical practice, automatically providing an accurate MS lesion evolution quantification. Future trends will focus on combining the lesion detection in single studies with the analysis of the change detection in serial MRI.


Multiple sclerosis Serial analysis MRI Review 



This study has been supported by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III Grant PI09/91018 and Grant VALTEC09-1-0025 from the Generalitat de Catalunya, and by the Fundació Esclerosi Múltiple de Catalunya through the CEM-Cat 2011 Grant Miquel Martí i Pol. O. Ganiler holds a FI grant.

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Lladó
    • 1
    Email author
  • Onur Ganiler
    • 1
  • Arnau Oliver
    • 1
  • Robert Martí
    • 1
  • Jordi Freixenet
    • 1
  • Laia Valls
    • 2
  • Joan C. Vilanova
    • 3
  • Lluís Ramió-Torrentà
    • 4
  • Àlex Rovira
    • 5
  1. 1.Computer Vision and Robotics GroupUniversity of GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyDr. Josep Trueta University HospitalGironaSpain
  3. 3.Girona Magnetic Resonance CenterGironaSpain
  4. 4.Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology UnitDr. Josep Trueta University Hospital, Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de GironaGironaSpain
  5. 5.Magnetic Resonance Unit, Department of RadiologyVall d’Hebron University HospitalBarcelonaSpain

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