A deformable model for tracking tumors across consecutive imaging studies

Gabriela Niculescu, John L. Nosher, M. D.Benjamin Schneider, David J. Foran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: A deformable registration technique was developed and evaluated to track and quantify tumor response to radiofrequency ablation for patients with liver malignancies. Materials and methods: The method uses the combined power of global and local alignment of pre- and post- treatment computed tomography image data sets. The strategy of the algorithm is to infer volumetric deformation based upon surface displacements using a linearly elastic finite element model (FEM). Using this framework, the major challenge for tracking tumor location is not the tissue mechanical properties for FEM modeling but rather the evaluation of boundary conditions. Three different methods were systematically investigated to automatically determine the boundary conditions defined by the correspondences on liver surfaces. Results: Using both 2D synthetic phantoms and imaged 3Dbeef liver data we performed gold standard registration while measuring the accuracy of non-rigid deformation. The fact that the algorithms could support mean displacement error of tumor deformation up to 2 mm indicates that this technique may serve as a useful tool for surgical interventions. The method was further demonstrated and evaluated using consecutive imaging studies for three liver cancer patients. Conclusion: The FEM-based surface registration technique provides accurate tracking and monitoring of tumor and surrounding tissue during the course of treatment and follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Deformable registration
  • Finite element modeling
  • Radiofrequency ablation


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