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Multi-exponential Transverse Relaxation Times Estimation from Magnetic Resonance Images under Rician Noise and Spatial Regularization

Abstract : Relaxation signal inside each voxel of magnetic resonance images (MRI) is commonly fitted by a multi-exponential decay curve. The estimation of a discrete multi-component relaxation model parameters from magnitude MRI data is a challenging nonlinear inverse problem since it should be conducted on the entire image voxels under non-Gaussian noise statistics. This paper proposes an efficient algorithm allowing the joint estimation of relaxation time values and their amplitudes using different criteria taking into account a Rician noise model, combined with a spatial regularization accounting for low spatial variability of relaxation time constants and amplitudes between neighboring voxels. The Rician noise hypothesis is accounted for either by an adapted nonlinear least squares algorithm applied to a corrected least squares criterion or by a majorization-minimization approach applied to the maximum likelihood criterion. In order to solve the resulting large-scale non-negativity constrained optimization problem with a reduced numerical complexity and computing time, an optimization algorithm based on a majorization approach ensuring separability of variables between voxels is proposed. The minimization is carried out iteratively using an adapted Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm that ensures convergence by imposing a sufficient decrease of the objective function and the non-negativity of the parameters. The importance of the regularization alongside the Rician noise incorporation is shown both visually and numerically on a simulated phantom and on magnitude MRI images acquired on fruit samples.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02563629
Contributor : Guylaine Collewet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 2:39:07 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 4:26:08 PM

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Christian El Hajj, Said Moussaoui, Guylaine Collewet, Maja Musse. Multi-exponential Transverse Relaxation Times Estimation from Magnetic Resonance Images under Rician Noise and Spatial Regularization. IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2020, 29, pp.6721-6733. ⟨10.1109/TIP.2020.2993114⟩. ⟨hal-02563629⟩

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