An investigation of motion correction algorithms for pediatric spinal cord DTI in healthy subjects and patients with spinal cord injury

Devon M. Middleton, Feroze B. Mohamed, Nadia Barakat, Louis N. Hunter, Sphoorti Shellikeri, Jürgen Finsterbusch, Scott H. Faro, Pallav Shah, Amer F. Samdani, M. J. Mulcahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Patient and physiological motion can cause artifacts in DTI of the spinal cord which can impact image quality and diffusion indices. The purpose of this investigation was to determine a reliable motion correction method for pediatric spinal cord DTI and show effects of motion correction on DTI parameters in healthy subjects and patients with spinal cord injury. Ten healthy subjects and ten subjects with spinal cord injury were scanned using a 3. T scanner. Images were acquired with an inner field-of-view DTI sequence covering cervical spine levels C1 to C7. Images were corrected for motion using two types of transformation (rigid and affine) and three cost functions. Corrected images and transformations were examined qualitatively and quantitatively using in-house developed code. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) indices were calculated and tested for statistical significance pre- and post- motion correction. Images corrected using rigid methods showed improvements in image quality, while affine methods frequently showed residual distortions in corrected images. Blinded evaluation of pre and post correction images showed significant improvement in cord homogeneity and edge conspicuity in corrected images (p. < 0.0001). The average FA changes were statistically significant (p. < 0.0001) in the spinal cord injury group, while healthy subjects showed less FA change and were not significant. In both healthy subjects and subjects with spinal cord injury, quantitative and qualitative analysis showed the rigid scaled-least-squares registration technique to be the most reliable and effective in improving image quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • DTI
  • Motion correction
  • Pediatric
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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