Effects of Image Quality on the Fundamental Limits of Image Registration Accuracy

Michael D. Ketcha, Tharindu De Silva, Runze Han, Ali Uneri, Joseph Goerres, Matthew W. Jacobson, Sebastian Vogt, Gerhard Kleinszig, Jeffrey H. Siewerdsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


For image-guided procedures, the imaging task is often tied to the registration of intraoperative and preoperative images to a common coordinate system. While the accuracy of this registration is a vital factor in system performance, there is a relatively little work that relates registration accuracy to image quality factors, such as dose, noise, and spatial resolution. To create a theoretical model for such a relationship, we present a Fisher information approach to analyze registration performance in explicit dependence on the underlying image quality factors of image noise, spatial resolution, and signal power spectrum. The model yields analysis of the Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB), in registration accuracy as a function of factors governing image quality. Experiments were performed in simulation of computed tomography low-contrast soft tissue images and high-contrast bone (head and neck) images to compare the measured accuracy [root mean squared error (RMSE) of the estimated transformations] with the theoretical lower bound. Analysis of the CRLB reveals that registration performance is closely related to the signal-to-noise ratio of the cross-correlation space. While the lower bound is optimistic, it exhibits consistent trends with experimental findings and yields a method for comparing the performance of various registration methods and similarity metrics. Further analysis validated a method for determining optimal post-processing (image filtering) for registration. Two figures of merit (CRLB and RMSE) are presented that unify models of image quality with registration performance, providing an important guide to optimizing intraoperative imaging with respect to the task of registration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7973163
Pages (from-to)1997-2009
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Image-guided treatment
  • X-ray imaging and computed tomography
  • image quality assessment
  • registration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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