A multi-scale framework with unsupervised joint training of convolutional neural networks for pulmonary deformable image registration.
To achieve accurate and fast deformable image registration (DIR) for pulmonary CT, we proposed a Multi-scale DIR framework with unsupervised Joint training of Convolutional Neural Network (MJ-CNN). MJ-CNN contains three models at multi-scale levels for a coarse-to-fine DIR to avoid being trapped in a local minimum. It is trained based on image similarity and deformation vector field (DVF) smoothness, requiring no supervision of ground-truth DVF. The three models are first trained sequentially and separately for their own registration tasks, and then are trained jointly for an end-to-end optimization under the multi-scale framework. In this study, MJ-CNN was trained using public SPARE 4D-CT data. The trained MJ-CNN was then evaluated on public DIR-LAB 4D-CT dataset as well as clinical CT-to-CBCT and CBCT-to-CBCT registration. For 4D-CT inter-phase registration, MJ-CNN achieved comparable accuracy to conventional iteration optimization-based methods, and showed the smallest registration errors compared to recently published deep learning-based DIR methods, demonstrating the efficacy of the proposed multi-scale joint training scheme. Besides, MJ-CNN trained using one dataset (SPARE) could generalize to a different dataset (DIR-LAB) acquired by different scanners and imaging protocols. Furthermore, MJ-CNN trained on 4D-CTs also performed well on CT-to-CBCT and CBCT-to-CBCT registration without any re-training or fine-tuning, demonstrating MJ-CNN's robustness against applications and imaging techniques. MJ-CNN took about 1.4 s for DVF estimation and required no manual-tuning of parameters during the evaluation. MJ-CNN is able to perform accurate DIR for pulmonary CT with nearly real-time speed, making it very applicable for clinical tasks.
Jiang, Z; Yin, F-F; Ge, Y; Ren, L
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