Automated sulcal segmentation using watersheds on the cortical surface

Maryam E. Rettmann, Xiao Han, Chenyang Xu, Jerry L. Prince

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


The human cortical surface is a highly complex, folded structure. Sulci, the spaces between the folds, define location on the cortex and provide a parcellation into anatomically distinct areas. A topic that has recently received increased attention is the segmentation of these sulci from magnetic resonance images, with most work focusing on extracting either the sulcal spaces between the folds or curve representations of sulci. Unlike these methods, we propose a technique that extracts actual regions of the cortical surface that surround sulci, which we call "sulcal regions." The method is based on a watershed algorithm applied to a geodesic depth measure on the cortical surface. A well-known problem with the watershed algorithm is a tendency toward oversegmentation, meaning that a single region is segmented as several pieces. To address this problem, we propose a postprocessing algorithm that merges appropriate segments from the watershed algorithm. The sulcal regions are then manually labeled by simply selecting the appropriate regions with a mouse click and a preliminary study of sulcal depth is reported. Finally, a scheme is presented for computing a complete parcellation of the cortical surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number90975
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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