This paper presents a computerized scheme to assist MRI operators in accurate and rapid determination of sagittal
sections for MRI exam of cervical spinal cord. The algorithm of the proposed scheme consisted of 6 steps: (1) extraction
of a cervical vertebra containing spinal cord from an axial localizer image; (2) extraction of spinal cord with sagittal
image from the extracted vertebra; (3) selection of a series of coronal localizer images corresponding to various,
involved portions of the extracted spinal cord with sagittal image; (4) generation of a composite coronal-plane image
from the obtained coronal images; (5) extraction of spinal cord from the obtained composite image; (6) determination of
oblique sagittal sections from the detected location and gradient of the extracted spinal cord. Cervical spine images
obtained from 25 healthy volunteers were used for the study. A perceptual evaluation was performed by five experienced
MRI operators. Good agreement between the automated and manual determinations was achieved. By use of the
proposed scheme, average execution time was reduced from 39 seconds/case to 1 second/case. The results demonstrate
that the proposed scheme can assist MRI operators in performing cervical spinal cord MRI exam accurately and rapidly.
In this paper we describe a method for assisting radiological technologists in their routine work to automatically determine the imaging plane in lumbar MRI. The method is first to recognize the spinal cord and the intervertebral disk (ID) from the lumbar vertebra 3-plane localizer image, and then the imaging plane is automatically determined according to the recognition results. To determine the imaging plane, the spinal cord and the ID are automatically recognized from the lumbar vertebra 3-plane localizer image with a series of image processing techniques. The proposed method consists of three major steps. First, after removing the air and fat regions from the 3-plane localizer image by use of histogram analysis, the rachis region is specified with Sobel edge detection filter. Second, the spinal cord and the ID were respectively extracted from the specified rachis region making use of global thresholding and the line detection filter. Finally, the imaging plane is determined by finding the straight line between the spinal cord and the ID with the Hough transform. Image data of 10 healthy volunteers were used for investigation. To validate the usefulness of our proposed method, manual determination of the imaging plane was also conducted by five experienced radiological technologists. Our experimental results showed that the concordance rate between the manual setting and automatic determination reached to 90%. Moreover, a remarkable reduction in execution time for imaging-plane determination was also achieved.