Pain and Neuroinflammation Imaging Lab

Inpainting as a Technique for Estimation of Missing Voxels in Brain Imaging


Torrado-Carvajal, A., et al., 2021. Inpainting as a Technique for Estimation of Missing Voxels in Brain Imaging. Ann Biomed Eng , 49 (1) , pp. 345-353.

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2020-07-06_abme_paper_preprint.pdf1.71 MB

Date Published:

2021 Jan


Issues with model fitting (i.e. suboptimal standard deviation, linewidth/full-width-at-half-maximum, and/or signal-to-noise ratio) in multi-voxel MRI spectroscopy, or chemical shift imaging (CSI) can result in the significant loss of usable voxels. A potential solution to minimize this problem is to estimate the value of unusable voxels by utilizing information from reliable voxels in the same image. We assessed an image restoration method called inpainting as a tool to restore unusable voxels, and compared it with traditional interpolation methods (nearest neighbor, trilinear interpolation and tricubic interpolation). In order to evaluate the performance across varying image contrasts and spatial resolutions, we applied the same techniques to a T1-weighted MRI brain dataset, and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) spectroscopy maps from a CSI dataset. For all image types, inpainting exhibited superior performance (lower normalized root-mean-square errors, NRMSE) compared to all other methods considered (p’s < 0.001). Inpainting maintained an average NRMSE of less than 5% even with 50% missing voxels, whereas the other techniques demonstrated up to three times that value, depending on the nature of the image. For CSI maps, inpainting maintained its superiority whether the previously unusable voxels were randomly distributed, or located in regions most commonly affected by voxel loss in real-world data. Inpainting is a promising approach for recovering unusable or missing voxels in voxel-wise analyses, particularly in imaging modalities characterized by low SNR such as CSI. We hypothesize that this technique may also be applicable for datasets from other imaging modalities, such as positron emission tomography, or dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI.

Last updated on 02/24/2022