Background field removal using a region adaptive kernel for quantitative susceptibility mapping of human brain

Jinsheng Fang, Lijun Bao, Xu Li, Peter C.M. van Zijl, Zhong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background field removal is an important MR phase preprocessing step for quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). It separates the local field induced by tissue magnetic susceptibility sources from the background field generated by sources outside a region of interest, e.g. brain, such as air-tissue interface. In the vicinity of air-tissue boundary, e.g. skull and paranasal sinuses, where large susceptibility variations exist, present background field removal methods are usually insufficient and these regions often need to be excluded by brain mask erosion at the expense of losing information of local field and thus susceptibility measures in these regions. In this paper, we propose an extension to the variable-kernel sophisticated harmonic artifact reduction for phase data (V-SHARP) background field removal method using a region adaptive kernel (R-SHARP), in which a scalable spherical Gaussian kernel (SGK) is employed with its kernel radius and weights adjustable according to an energy “functional” reflecting the magnitude of field variation. Such an energy functional is defined in terms of a contour and two fitting functions incorporating regularization terms, from which a curve evolution model in level set formation is derived for energy minimization. We utilize it to detect regions of with a large field gradient caused by strong susceptibility variation. In such regions, the SGK will have a small radius and high weight at the sphere center in a manner adaptive to the voxel energy of the field perturbation. Using the proposed method, the background field generated from external sources can be effectively removed to get a more accurate estimation of the local field and thus of the QSM dipole inversion to map local tissue susceptibility sources. Numerical simulation, phantom and in vivo human brain data demonstrate improved performance of R-SHARP compared to V-SHARP and RESHARP (regularization enabled SHARP) methods, even when the whole paranasal sinus regions are preserved in the brain mask. Shadow artifacts due to strong susceptibility variations in the derived QSM maps could also be largely eliminated using the R-SHARP method, leading to more accurate QSM reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Adaptive spherical Gaussian kernel
  • Background field removal
  • Fitting energy functional
  • Quantitative susceptibility mapping
  • Strong susceptibility variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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