A joint shape evolution approach to medical image segmentation using expectation-maximization algorithm

Mahshid Farzinfar, Eam Khwang Teoh, Zhong Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study proposes an expectation-maximization (EM)-based curve evolution algorithm for segmentation of magnetic resonance brain images. In the proposed algorithm, the evolution curve is constrained not only by a shape-based statistical model but also by a hidden variable model from image observation. The hidden variable model herein is defined by the local voxel labeling, which is unknown and estimated by the expected likelihood function derived from the image data and prior anatomical knowledge. In the M-step, the shapes of the structures are estimated jointly by encoding the hidden variable model and the statistical prior model obtained from the training stage. In the E-step, the expected observation likelihood and the prior distribution of the hidden variables are estimated. In experiments, the proposed automatic segmentation algorithm is applied to multiple gray nuclei structures such as caudate, putamens and thalamus of three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging in volunteers and patients. As for the robustness and accuracy of the segmentation algorithm, the results of the proposed EM-joint shape-based algorithm outperformed those obtained using the statistical shape model-based techniques in the same framework and a current state-of-the-art region competition level set method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1255-1266
Number of pages12
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Active contours
  • Expectation-maximization algorithm
  • Level set methods
  • Statistical shape model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomedical Engineering


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