Phase Vector Incompressible Registration Algorithm for Motion Estimation from Tagged Magnetic Resonance Images

Fangxu Xing, Jonghye Woo, Arnold D. Gomez, Dzung L. Pham, Philip V. Bayly, Maureen Stone, Jerry L. Prince

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Tagged magnetic resonance imaging has been used for decades to observe and quantify motion and strain of deforming tissue. It is challenging to obtain 3-D motion estimates due to a tradeoff between image slice density and acquisition time. Typically, interpolation methods are used either to combine 2-D motion extracted from sparse slice acquisitions into 3-D motion or to construct a dense volume from sparse acquisitions before image registration methods are applied. This paper proposes a new phase-based 3-D motion estimation technique that first computes harmonic phase volumes from interpolated tagged slices and then matches them using an image registration framework. The approach uses several concepts from diffeomorphic image registration with a key novelty that defines a symmetric similarity metric on harmonic phase volumes from multiple orientations. The material property of harmonic phase solves the aperture problem of optical flow and intensity-based methods and is robust to tag fading. A harmonic magnitude volume is used in enforcing incompressibility in the tissue regions. The estimated motion fields are dense, incompressible, diffeomorphic, and inverse-consistent at a 3-D voxel level. The method was evaluated using simulated phantoms, human brain data in mild head accelerations, human tongue data during speech, and an open cardiac data set. The method shows comparable accuracy to three existing methods while demonstrating low computation time and robustness to tag fading and noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7967856
Pages (from-to)2116-2128
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D
  • Motion
  • incompressible
  • phase
  • registration
  • tagged MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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