A hybrid framework for 3D medical image segmentation

Ting Chen, Dimitris Metaxas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In this paper we propose a novel hybrid 3D segmentation framework which combines Gibbs models, marching cubes and deformable models. In the framework, first we construct a new Gibbs model whose energy function is defined on a high order clique system. The new model includes both region and boundary information during segmentation. Next we improve the original marching cubes method to construct 3D meshes from Gibbs models' output. The 3D mesh serves as the initial geometry of the deformable model. Then we deform the deformable model using external image forces so that the model converges to the object surface. We run the Gibbs model and the deformable model recursively by updating the Gibbs model's parameters using the region and boundary information in the deformable model segmentation result. In our approach, the hybrid combination of region-based methods and boundary-based methods results in improved segmentations of complex structures. The benefit of the methodology is that it produces high quality segmentations of 3D structures using little prior information and minimal user intervention. The modules in this segmentation methodology are developed within the context of the Insight ToolKit (ITK). We present experimental segmentation results of brain tumors and evaluate our method by comparing experimental results with expert manual segmentations. The evaluation results show that the methodology achieves high quality segmentation results with computational efficiency. We also present segmentation results of other clinical objects to illustrate the strength of the methodology as a generic segmentation framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-565
Number of pages19
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Deformable models
  • Gibbs prior models
  • Insight ToolKit
  • Markov random fields
  • Segmentation


Dive into the research topics of 'A hybrid framework for 3D medical image segmentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this