Diffusion MRI and tractography allow for investigation of the architectural configuration of white matter in vivo, offering new avenues for applications like presurgical planning. Despite the promising outlook, there are many pitfalls that complicate its use for (clinical) application. Amongst these are inaccuracies in the geometry of the diffusion profiles on which tractography is based, and poor alignment with neighboring profiles. Recently developed contextual processing techniques, including enhancement and well-posed geometric sharpening, have shown to result in sharper and better aligned diffusion profiles. However, the research that has been conducted up to now is mainly of theoretical nature, and so far these techniques have only been evaluated by visual inspection of the diffusion profiles. In this work, the method is evaluated in a clinically relevant application: the reconstruction of the optic radiation for epilepsy surgery. For this evaluation we have developed a framework in which we incorporate a novel scoring procedure for individual pathways. We demonstrate that, using enhancement and sharpening, the extraction of an anatomically plausible reconstruction of the optic radiation from a large amount of probabilistic pathways is greatly improved in three healthy controls, where currently used methods fail to do so. Furthermore, challenging reconstructions of the optic radiation in three epilepsy surgery candidates with extensive brain lesions demonstrate that it is beneficial to integrate these methods in surgical planning.
Tax, C. M. W., Duits, R., Vilanova, A., Haar Romenij, ter, B. M., Hofman, P. A. M., Wagner, L., Leemans, A., & Ossenblok, P. P. W. (2014). Evaluating contextual processing in diffusion MRI : application to optic radiation reconstruction for epilepsy surgery. PLoS ONE, 9(7), 101524/1-19. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101524