Diffusion tensor sharpening improves white matter tractography

Maxime Descoteaux, Christophe Lenglet, Rachid Deriche

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Scopus citations


Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is currently a widespread technique to infer white matter architecture in the human brain. An important application of DTI is to understand the anatomical coupling between functional cortical regions of the brain. To solve this problem, anisotropy maps are insufficient and fiber tracking methods are used to obtain the main fibers. While the diffusion tensor (DT) is important to obtain anisotropy maps and apparent diffusivity of the underlying tissue, fiber tractography using the full DT may result in diffusive tracking that leaks into unexpected regions. Sharpening is thus of utmost importance to obtain complete and accurate tracts. In the tracking literature, only heuristic methods have been proposed to deal with this problem. We propose a new tensor sharpening transform. Analogously to the general issue with the diffusion and fiber Orientation Distribution Function (ODF) encountered when working with High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging (HARDI), we show how to transform the diffusion tensors into so-called fiber tensors. We demonstrate that this tensor transform is a natural pre-processing task when one is interested in fiber tracking. It also leads to a dramatic improvement of the tractography results obtained by front propagation techniques on the full diffusion tensor. We compare and validate sharpening and tracking results on synthetic data and on known fiber bundles in the human brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2007
Subtitle of host publicationImage Processing
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2007
EventMedical Imaging 2007: Image Processing - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 18 2007Feb 20 2007

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
NumberPART 1
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2007: Image Processing
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Cerebral anatomy
  • Deconvolution
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
  • Fiber tractography


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