Exploring partial intrinsic and extrinsic symmetry in 3D medical imaging

Javad Fotouhi, Giacomo Taylor, Mathias Unberath, Alex Johnson, Sing Chun Lee, Greg Osgood, Mehran Armand, Nassir Navab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a novel methodology to detect imperfect bilateral symmetry in CT of human anatomy. In this paper, the structurally symmetric nature of the pelvic bone is explored and is used to provide interventional image augmentation for treatment of unilateral fractures in patients with traumatic injuries. The mathematical basis of our solution is based on the incorporation of attributes and characteristics that satisfy the properties of intrinsic and extrinsic symmetry and are robust to outliers. In the first step, feature points that satisfy intrinsic symmetry are automatically detected in the Möbius space defined on the CT data. These features are then pruned via a two-stage RANSAC to attain correspondences that satisfy also the extrinsic symmetry. Then, a disparity function based on Tukey's biweight robust estimator is introduced and minimized to identify a symmetry plane parametrization that yields maximum contralateral similarity. Finally, a novel regularization term is introduced to enhance similarity between bone density histograms across the partial symmetry plane, relying on the important biological observation that, even if injured, the dislocated bone segments remain within the body. Our extensive evaluations on various cases of common fracture types demonstrate the validity of the novel concepts and the accuracy of the proposed method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102127
JournalMedical image analysis
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • CT
  • Image augmentation
  • Mutual information
  • Möbius
  • Robust estimation
  • Symmetry
  • Tukey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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