Patient-specific biomechanical model as whole-body CT image registration tool
Whole-body computed tomography (CT) image registration is important for cancer diagnosis, therapy planning and treatment. Such registration requires accounting for large differences between source and target images caused by deformations of soft organs/tissues and articulated motion of skeletal structures. The registration algorithms relying solely on image processing methods exhibit deficiencies in accounting for such deformations and motion. We propose to predict the deformations and movements of body organs/tissues and skeletal structures for whole-body CT image registration using patient-specific non-linear biomechanical modelling. Unlike the conventional biomechanical modelling, our approach for building the biomechanical models does not require time-consuming segmentation of CT scans to divide the whole body into non-overlapping constituents with different material properties. Instead, a Fuzzy C-Means (FCM) algorithm is used for tissue classification to assign the constitutive properties automatically at integration points of the computation grid. We use only very simple segmentation of the spine when determining vertebrae displacements to define loading for biomechanical models. We demonstrate the feasibility and accuracy of our approach on CT images of seven patients suffering from cancer and aortic disease. The results confirm that accurate whole-body CT image registration can be achieved using a patient-specific non-linear biomechanical model constructed without time-consuming segmentation of the whole-body images.