Neonatal MR templates are appropriate for brain structural analysis and spatial normalization. However, they do not provide the essential accurate details of cranial bones and fontanels-sutures. Distinctly, CT images provide the best contrast for bone definition and fontanels-sutures. In this paper, we present, for the first time, an approach to create a fully registered bimodal MR-CT head template for neonates with a gestational age of 39 to 42 weeks. Such a template is essential for structural and functional brain studies, which require precise geometry of the head including cranial bones and fontanels-sutures. Due to the special characteristics of the problem (which requires inter-subject inter-modality registration), a two-step intensity-based registration method is proposed to globally and locally align CT images with an available MR template. By applying groupwise registration, the new neonatal CT template is then created in full alignment with the MR template to build a bimodal MR-CT template. The mutual information value between the CT and the MR template is 1.17 which shows their perfect correspondence in the bimodal template. Moreover, the average mutual information value between normalized images and the CT template proposed in this study is 1.24±0.07. Comparing this value with the one reported in a previously published approach (0.63±0.07) demonstrates the better generalization properties of the new created template and the superiority of the proposed method for the creation of CT template in the standard space provided by MR neonatal head template. The neonatal bimodal MR-CT head template is freely downloadable from https://www.u-picardie.fr/labo/GRAMFC.
Ghadimi, S., Mohtasebi, M., Moghaddam, H. A., Grebe, R., Gity, M., & Wallois, F. (2017). A neonatal bimodal MR-CT head template. PLoS ONE, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166112