Adversarial Deformation Regularization for Training Image Registration Neural Networks

We describe an adversarial learning approach to constrain convolutional neural network training for image registration, replacing heuristic smoothness measures of displacement fields often used in these tasks. Using minimally-invasive prostate cancer intervention as an example application, we demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing biomechanical simulations to regularize a weakly-supervised anatomical-label-driven registration network for aligning pre-procedural magnetic resonance (MR) and 3D intra-procedural transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) images... A discriminator network is optimized to distinguish the registration-predicted displacement fields from the motion data simulated by finite element analysis. During training, the registration network simultaneously aims to maximize similarity between anatomical labels that drives image alignment and to minimize an adversarial generator loss that measures divergence between the predicted- and simulated deformation. The end-to-end trained network enables efficient and fully-automated registration that only requires an MR and TRUS image pair as input, without anatomical labels or simulated data during inference. 108 pairs of labelled MR and TRUS images from 76 prostate cancer patients and 71,500 nonlinear finite-element simulations from 143 different patients were used for this study. We show that, with only gland segmentation as training labels, the proposed method can help predict physically plausible deformation without any other smoothness penalty. Based on cross-validation experiments using 834 pairs of independent validation landmarks, the proposed adversarial-regularized registration achieved a target registration error of 6.3 mm that is significantly lower than those from several other regularization methods. read more

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