FreeSurfer-initiated fully-automated subcortical brain segmentation in MRI using Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Metric Mapping

Ali R. Khan, Lei Wang, Mirza Faisal Beg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Fully-automated brain segmentation methods have not been widely adopted for clinical use because of issues related to reliability, accuracy, and limitations of delineation protocol. By combining the probabilistic-based FreeSurfer (FS) method with the Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Metric Mapping (LDDMM)-based label-propagation method, we are able to increase reliability and accuracy, and allow for flexibility in template choice. Our method uses the automated FreeSurfer subcortical labeling to provide a coarse-to-fine introduction of information in the LDDMM template-based segmentation resulting in a fully-automated subcortical brain segmentation method (FS+LDDMM). One major advantage of the FS+LDDMM-based approach is that the automatically generated segmentations generated are inherently smooth, thus subsequent steps in shape analysis can directly follow without manual post-processing or loss of detail. We have evaluated our new FS+LDDMM method on several databases containing a total of 50 subjects with different pathologies, scan sequences and manual delineation protocols for labeling the basal ganglia, thalamus, and hippocampus. In healthy controls we report Dice overlap measures of 0.81, 0.83, 0.74, 0.86 and 0.75 for the right caudate nucleus, putamen, pallidum, thalamus and hippocampus respectively. We also find statistically significant improvement of accuracy in FS+LDDMM over FreeSurfer for the caudate nucleus and putamen of Huntington's disease and Tourette's syndrome subjects, and the right hippocampus of Schizophrenia subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-746
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Automated segmentation
  • Basal ganglia
  • Computational anatomy
  • FreeSurfer
  • Hippocampus
  • MR imaging
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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