Local histogram correction of MRI spatially dependent image pixel intensity nonuniformity

Charles DeCarli, D. G M Murphy, D. Teichberg, G. Campbell, G. S. Sobering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


We describe a computationally straightforward post-hoc statistical method of correcting spatially dependent image pixel intensity nonuniformity based on differences in local tissue intensity distributions. Pixel intensity domains for the various tissues of the composite image are identified and compared to the distributions of local samples. The nonuniformity correction is calculated as the difference of the local sample median from the composite sample median for the tissue class most represented by the sample. The median was chosen to reduce the effect ers on determining the sample statistic and to allow a sample size small enough to accurately estimate the spatial variance of the image intensity nonuniformity.The method was designed for application to two-dimensional images. Simulations were used to estimate optimal conditions of local histogram kernel size and to test the accuracy of the method under known spatially dependent nonuniformities. The method was also applied to correct a phantom image and cerebral MRIs from 15 healthy subjects. Results show that the method accurately models simulated spatially dependent image intensity differences. Further analysis of clinical MR data showed that the variance of pixel intensities within the cerebral MRI slices and the variance of slice volumes within individuals were significantly reduced after nonuniformity correction. Improved brain-cerebrospinal fluid segmentation was also obtained. The method significantly reduced the variance of slice volumes within individuals, whether it was applied to the native images or images edited to remove nonbrain tissues. This statistical method was well behaved under the assumptions and the images tested. The general utility of the method was not determined, but conditions for testing the method under a variety of imaging sequences is discussed. We believe that this algorithm can serve as a method for improving MR image segmentation for clinical and research applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-528
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral volumes
  • MRI nonuniformity correction
  • MRI segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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