A Novel Approach to High Resolution Fetal Brain MR Imaging
This paper describes a novel approach to forming high resolution MR images of the human fetal brain. It addresses the key problem of motion of the fetus by proposing a registration refined compounding of multiple sets of orthogonal fast 2D MRI slices, that are currently acquired for clinical studies, into a single high resolution MRI volume. A robust multi-resolution slice alignment is applied iteratively to the data to correct motion of the fetus that occurs between 2D acquisitions. This is combined with an intensity correction step and a super resolution reconstruction step, to form a single high isotropic resolution volume of the fetal brain. Experimental validation on synthetic image data with known motion types and underlying anatomy, together with retrospective application to sets of clinical acquisitions are included. Results indicate the method promises a unique route to acquiring high resolution MRI of the fetal brain in vivo allowing comparable quality to that of neonatal MRI. Such data is highly valuable in allowing a clinically applicable window into the process of normal and abnormal brain development.
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