Demons deformable registration for CBCT-guided procedures in the head and neck: Convergence and accuracy

S. Nithiananthan, K. K. Brock, M. J. Daly, H. Chan, J. C. Irish, J. H. Siewerdsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The accuracy and convergence behavior of a variant of the Demons deformable registration algorithm were investigated for use in cone-beam CT (CBCT)-guided procedures of the head and neck. Online use of deformable registration for guidance of therapeutic procedures such as image-guided surgery or radiation therapy places trade-offs on accuracy and computational expense. This work describes a convergence criterion for Demons registration developed to balance these demands; the accuracy of a multiscale Demons implementation using this convergence criterion is quantified in CBCT images of the head and neck. Methods: Using an open-source "symmetric" Demons registration algorithm, a convergence criterion based on the change in the deformation field between iterations was developed to advance among multiple levels of a multiscale image pyramid in a manner that optimized accuracy and computation time. The convergence criterion was optimized in cadaver studies involving CBCT images acquired using a surgical C-arm prototype modified for 3D intraoperative imaging. CBCT-to-CBCT registration was performed and accuracy was quantified in terms of the normalized cross-correlation (NCC) and target registration error (TRE). The accuracy and robustness of the algorithm were then tested in clinical CBCT images of ten patients undergoing radiation therapy of the head and neck. Results: The cadaver model allowed optimization of the convergence factor and initial measurements of registration accuracy: Demons registration exhibited TRE= (0.8±0.3) mm and NCC=0.99 in the cadaveric head compared to TRE= (2.6±1.0) mm and NCC=0.93 with rigid registration. Similarly for the patient data, Demons registration gave mean TRE= (1.6±0.9) mm compared to rigid registration TRE= (3.6±1.9) mm, suggesting registration accuracy at or near the voxel size of the patient images (1×1×2 mm 3). The multiscale implementation based on optimal convergence criteria completed registration in 52 s for the cadaveric head and in an average time of 270 s for the larger FOV patient images. Conclusions: Appropriate selection of convergence and multiscale parameters in Demons registration was shown to reduce computational expense without sacrificing registration performance. For intraoperative CBCT imaging with deformable registration, the ability to perform accurate registration within the stringent time requirements of the operating environment could offer a useful clinical tool allowing integration of preoperative information while accurately reflecting changes in the patient anatomy. Similarly for CBCT-guided radiation therapy, fast accurate deformable registration could further augment high-precision treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4755-4764
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009


  • Cone-beam CT
  • Deformable image registration
  • Demons algorithm
  • Flat-panel detector
  • Head and neck
  • Image-guided interventions
  • Image-guided radiation therapy
  • Image-guided surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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