Estimation of the partial volume effect in MRI.
González Ballester MA., Zisserman AP., Brady M.
The partial volume effect (PVE) arises in volumetric images when more than one tissue type occurs in a voxel. In such cases, the voxel intensity depends not only on the imaging sequence and tissue properties, but also on the proportions of each tissue type present in the voxel. We have demonstrated in previous work that ignoring this effect by establishing binary voxel-based segmentations introduces significant errors in quantitative measurements, such as estimations of the volumes of brain structures. In this paper, we provide a statistical estimation framework to quantify PVE and to propagate voxel-based estimates in order to compute global magnitudes, such as volume, with associated estimates of uncertainty. Validation is performed on ground truth synthetic images and MRI phantoms, and a clinical study is reported. Results show that the method allows for robust morphometric studies and provides resolution unattainable to date.