Probabilistic Learning Coherent Point Drift for 3D Ultrasound Fetal Head Registration uri icon


  • © 2020 Jorge Perez-Gonzalez et al.Quantification of brain growth is crucial for the assessment of fetal well being, for which ultrasound (US) images are the chosen clinical modality. However, they present artefacts, such as acoustic occlusion, especially after the 18th gestational week, when cranial calcification appears. Fetal US volume registration is useful in one or all of the following cases: to monitor the evolution of fetometry indicators, to segment different structures using a fetal brain atlas, and to align and combine multiple fetal brain acquisitions. This paper presents a new approach for automatic registration of real 3D US fetal brain volumes, volumes that contain a considerable degree of occlusion artefacts, noise, and missing data. To achieve this, a novel variant of the coherent point drift method is proposed. This work employs supervised learning to segment and conform a point cloud automatically and to estimate their subsequent weight factors. These factors are obtained by a random forest-based classification and are used to appropriately assign nonuniform membership probability values of a Gaussian mixture model. These characteristics allow for the automatic registration of 3D US fetal brain volumes with occlusions and multiplicative noise, without needing an initial point cloud. Compared to other intensity and geometry-based algorithms, the proposed method achieves an error reduction of 7.4% to 60.7%, with a target registration error of only 6.38 ± 3.24 mm. This makes the herein proposed approach highly suitable for 3D automatic registration of fetal head US volumes, an approach which can be useful to monitor fetal growth, segment several brain structures, or even compound multiple acquisitions taken from different projections.

Publication date

  • January 1, 2020