3D-2D image registration for target localization in spine surgery: Investigation of similarity metrics providing robustness to content mismatch

T. De Silva, A. Uneri, M. D. Ketcha, S. Reaungamornrat, G. Kleinszig, S. Vogt, N. Aygun, S. F. Lo, J. P. Wolinsky, J. H. Siewerdsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In image-guided spine surgery, robust three-dimensional to two-dimensional (3D-2D) registration of preoperative computed tomography (CT) and intraoperative radiographs can be challenged by the image content mismatch associated with the presence of surgical instrumentation and implants as well as soft-tissue resection or deformation. This work investigates image similarity metrics in 3D-2D registration offering improved robustness against mismatch, thereby improving performance and reducing or eliminating the need for manual masking. The performance of four gradient-based image similarity metrics (gradient information (GI), gradient correlation (GC), gradient information with linear scaling (GS), and gradient orientation (GO)) with a multi-start optimization strategy was evaluated in an institutional review board-approved retrospective clinical study using 51 preoperative CT images and 115 intraoperative mobile radiographs. Registrations were tested with and without polygonal masks as a function of the number of multistarts employed during optimization. Registration accuracy was evaluated in terms of the projection distance error (PDE) and assessment of failure modes (PDE > 30 mm) that could impede reliable vertebral level localization. With manual polygonal masking and 200 multistarts, the GC and GO metrics exhibited robust performance with 0% gross failures and median PDE < 6.4 mm (±4.4 mm interquartile range (IQR)) and a median runtime of 84 s (plus upwards of 1-2 min for manual masking). Excluding manual polygonal masks and decreasing the number of multistarts to 50 caused the GC-based registration to fail at a rate of >14%; however, GO maintained robustness with a 0% gross failure rate. Overall, the GI, GC, and GS metrics were susceptible to registration errors associated with content mismatch, but GO provided robust registration (median PDE = 5.5 mm, 2.6 mm IQR) without manual masking and with an improved runtime (29.3 s). The GO metric improved the registration accuracy and robustness in the presence of strong image content mismatch. This capability could offer valuable assistance and decision support in spine level localization in a manner consistent with clinical workflow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3009-3025
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 18 2016


  • 3D-2D registration
  • image similarity metrics
  • image-guided surgery
  • intraoperative imaging
  • spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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