A novel edge gradient distance metric for automated evaluation of deformable image registration quality

Yihang Xu, Jeffery F. Williamson, Nesrin Dogan, Taylor Harry, John Chetley Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To develop a new registration quality metric, based on the distance between image edges, for automated evaluation and comparison of DIR algorithms. Methods: Canny filter is used to create binary gradient images from input images to be compared. A small subregion of one binary image is translated relative to the other. The translational distance maximizing overlap of edges in the subregion is the local edge gradient distance to agreement (EGDTA); repeating over all subregions provides an EGDTA map. The method was tested on phantom and pelvic CT images, by applying a known deformable vector field (DVF). The method was then applied to evaluate two DIR algorithms (SICLE and Demons) for pelvic CTs from five patients. Three SICLE variants were used: Grayscale-driven (G), Contour-driven (C), and Grayscale + Contour-driven (G + C). For each patient, a planning CT was registered to three repeat CTs using the above DIR algorithms. Mean EGDTA values in concentric ring regions of interest close to and far away from the pelvic organ contours were compared. Results: EGDTA maps and imposed DVF deformations on phantom and CT images demonstrated agreement. In comparison of the three variants of SICLE: C had lower EGDTA values close to the pelvic organs, while G showed much better performance in the regions distant from the organs compared to C; and G + C registration exhibited the lowest or comparable EGDTA value among three variants. Demons achieved the lowest EGDTA values. Conclusions: The EGDTA metric shows potential as an automated means of evaluating and comparing DIR algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica Medica
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Deformable image registration
  • Edge gradient
  • Evaluation
  • Modified Hausdorff distance
  • Non-rigid
  • Quality


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