Segmentation of MR brain images into cerebrospinal fluid spaces, white and gray matter

Kelvin O. Lim, Adolf Pfefferbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

279 Scopus citations


An interactive computer method for quantifying CSF, white matter, and gray matter in magnetic resonance (MR) axial brain scans is presented. A stripping algorithm is used to remove the skull and scalp from each axial section. The images are then filtered to correct for radiofrequency inhomogeneity image artifacts. Late echo images are subtracted from or added to early echo images to enhance fluid/tissue and gray/white tissue contrast, respectively. Thresholds for fluid/tissue and gray/white separation are set interactively. A boundary pixel locking algorithm is used to handle ambiguities due to partial voluming between the fluid and tissue compartments. The MR brain scans from five healthy, young, normal men were obtained using a standard neuroanatomical reference technique. These data were processed and percentages computed for fluid, gray matter and white matter compartments. The gray/white ratios compare favorably with those determined in a published postmortem brain study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-593
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of computer assisted tomography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1989


  • Brain, white-gray matter
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Magnetic resonance imaging, techniques

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