CT and MRI assessment and characterization using segmentation and 3D modeling techniques: applications to muscle, bone and brain

  • Paolo Gargiulo | paologar@landspitali.is Institute of Biomedical and Neural Engineering (BNE), Reykjavik University, Iceland.
  • Thordur Helgason Research Department, Landspitali University Hospital, Iceland.
  • Ceon Ramon Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, United States.
  • Halldór Jónsson jr Orthopedic Clinic, Landspitali Hospital, Iceland.
  • Ugo Carraro CIR-Myo, Translational Myology Lab, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.


This paper reviews the novel use of CT and MRI data and image processing tools to segment and reconstruct tissue images in 3D to determine characteristics of muscle, bone and brain.This to study and simulate the structural changes occurring in healthy and pathological conditions as well as in response to clinical treatments. Here we report the application of this methodology to evaluate and quantify: 1. progression of atrophy in human muscle subsequent to permanent lower motor neuron (LMN) denervation, 2. muscle recovery as induced by functional electrical stimulation (FES), 3. bone quality in patients undergoing total hip replacement and 4. to model the electrical activity of the brain. Study 1: CT data and segmentation techniques were used to quantify changes in muscle density and composition by associating the Hounsfield unit values of muscle, adipose and fibrous connective tissue with different colors. This method was employed to monitor patients who have permanent muscle LMN denervation in the lower extremities under two different conditions: permanent LMN denervated not electrically stimulated and stimulated. Study 2: CT data and segmentation techniques were employed, however, in this work we assessed bone and muscle conditions in the pre-operative CT scans of patients scheduled to undergo total hip replacement. In this work, the overall anatomical structure, the bone mineral density (BMD) and compactness of quadriceps muscles and proximal femoral was computed to provide a more complete view for surgeons when deciding which implant technology to use. Further, a Finite element analysis provided a map of the strains around the proximal femur socket when solicited by typical stresses caused by an implant press fitting. Study 3 describes a method to model the electrical behavior of human brain using segmented MR images. The aim of the work is to use these models to predict the electrical activity of the human brain under normal and pathological conditions by developing detailed 3D representations of major tissue surfaces within the head, with over 12 different tissues segmented. In addition, computational tools in Matlab were developed for calculating normal vectors on the brain surface and for associating this information with the equivalent electrical dipole sources as an input into the model.



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Original Articles
Medical modelling, Image processing, denervated muscle, brain, hip prosthesis, fracture risk
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How to Cite
Gargiulo, P., Helgason, T., Ramon, C., Jónsson jr, H., & Carraro, U. (2014). CT and MRI assessment and characterization using segmentation and 3D modeling techniques: applications to muscle, bone and brain. European Journal of Translational Myology, 24(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2014.3298

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