System for upper airway segmentation and measurement with MR imaging and fuzzy connectedness

Jianguo Liu, Jayaram K. Udupa, Dewey Odhnera, Joseph M. McDonough, Raanan Arens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a computerized system developed to help delineate the upper airway and surrounding structures with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was effective for aiding in the diagnosis of upper airway disorders in children. Materials and Methods. The authors performed axial T2-weighted MR imaging to gather information about different aspects of the airway and its surrounding soft-tissue structures, including the adenoid and palatine tonsils, tongue, and soft palate. Images were processed and segmented to compute the architectural parameters of the airway (eg, surface description, volume, central [medial] line, and cross-sectional areas at planes perpendicular to the central line). The authors built a software package for the visualization, segmentation, registration, prefiltering, interpolation, standardization, and quantitative analysis of the airway and tonsils. Results. The system was tested with 40 patient studies. For every study, the system segmented and displayed a smooth three-dimensional rendition of the airway and its central line and a plot of the cross-sectional area of the airway orthogonal to the central line as a function of the distance from one end of the central line. The precision and accuracy for segmentation was 97%. The mean time taken per study was about 4 minutes and included the operator interaction time and processing time. Conclusion. This method provides a robust and fast means of assessing the airway size, shape, and level of restriction, as well as a structural data set suitable for use in modeling studies of airflow and mechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchi, anatomy
  • Magnetic resonance (MR), image processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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