3D reconstruction of the human rib cage from 2D projection images using a statistical shape model



This paper describes an approach for the three-dimensional (3D) shape and pose reconstruction of the human rib cage from few segmented two-dimensional (2D) projection images. Our work is aimed at supporting temporal subtraction techniques of subsequently acquired radiographs by establishing a method for the assessment of pose differences in sequences of chest radiographs of the same patient.


The reconstruction method is based on a 3D statistical shape model (SSM) of the rib cage, which is adapted to binary 2D projection images of an individual rib cage. To drive the adaptation we minimize a distance measure that quantifies the dissimilarities between 2D projections of the 3D SSM and the projection images of the individual rib cage. We propose different silhouette-based distance measures and evaluate their suitability for the adaptation of the SSM to the projection images.


An evaluation was performed on 29 sets of biplanar binary images (posterior–anterior and lateral). Depending on the chosen distance measure, our experiments on the combined reconstruction of shape and pose of the rib cages yield reconstruction errors from 2.2 to 4.7mm average mean 3D surface distance. Given a geometry of an individual rib cage, the rotational errors for the pose reconstruction range from 0.1° to 0.9°.


The results show that our method is suitable for the estimation of pose differences of the human rib cage in binary projection images. Thus, it is able to provide crucial 3D information for registration during the generation of 2D subtraction images.

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Correspondence to Jalda Dworzak.

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Dworzak, J., Lamecker, H., von Berg, J. et al. 3D reconstruction of the human rib cage from 2D projection images using a statistical shape model. Int J CARS 5, 111–124 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11548-009-0390-2

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  • Geometry reconstruction
  • Biplanar projection images
  • Distance measure
  • 3D pose difference