Technology Listings

Skull Segmentation Software Suite for PET/MRI Brain Imaging


Software suite for skull segmentation that can facilitate MR image-based attenuation correction of PET brain imaging.

Key Benefits
  • A post-processing software suite for skull segmentation that requires no manual intervention while maintaining high accuracy.
  • Can be used to analyze images from independent PET and MRI scanners as well as the fully integrated imaging device.
  • Insensitive to noise and able to process MR images with low quality.
Market Summary

Each year 6.6 million MRI head scans are performed in the United States. In 2010, 1.74 million clinical PET patient studies were conducted, and the number is estimated to be 2.5 million in 2011. The combination of these two imaging technologies is considered to be the next generation of multi-modality imaging because it synergizes the high-sensitivity and functional imaging of PET, and the high-resolution anatomic information of MRI. To utilize this combined imaging technology in clinical practice without added expense of purchasing a new PET/MRI machine, post-processing software is indispensable.

Technical Summary

Attenuation correction is an essential step in the study of quantitative PET imaging of the brain. Because of the inability to offer transmission scans by most PET/MRI hybrid systems, post-processing software is required to conduct the MR-image based attenuation correction for PET, with skull segmentation as the kernel of the process. However, without manual intervention, existing methods for skull segmentation are suboptimal due to their lack of accuracy or performance consistency.

Emory researchers have developed an automatic post-processing software suite for skull segmentation, and subsequently for MR image-based attenuation correction of PET brain imaging. It is designed to co-register MR and PET images of the brain, conduct segmentation, classification and finally correct the attenuation for the PET image based on MR data. As a result, a single image of the patient's skull is reconstructed. Extensive validation tests have demonstrated its accuracy and insensitivity to random noise, even with low-resolution MR images. In addition to analyzing images from hybrid PET/MRI imaging device, the software suite can be used to process the results of two separate scans taken on different scanners even with weeks apart. The software suite can be used to facilitate combined PET/MRI imaging technology in detecting and studying various neurological disorders.

Developmental Stage

Evaluation tests have been conducted on brain phantom database, simulated MR images as well as real patient MRI and CT data sets.

Patent Information
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Nationalized PCT - United States United States 13/522,646 8,989,462 2/11/2011 3/24/2015 10/15/2031
Tech ID: 10053
Published: 4/3/2012
Medical Device

Rajsekhar Guddneppanavar
Licensing Associate
Emory University

Baowei Fei
Xiaofeng Yang