Computer-Assisted Segmentation of White Matter Lesions in 3D MR Images Using Support Vector Machine

Zhiqiang Lao, Dinggang Shen, Dengfeng Liu, Abbas F. Jawad, Elias R. Melhem, Lenore J. Launer, R. Nick Bryan, Christos Davatzikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

170 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale and Objectives: Brain lesions, especially white matter lesions (WMLs), are associated with cardiac and vascular disease, but also with normal aging. Quantitative analysis of WML in large clinical trials is becoming more and more important. Materials and Methods: In this article, we present a computer-assisted WML segmentation method, based on local features extracted from multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences (ie, T1-weighted, T2-weighted, proton density-weighted, and fluid attenuation inversion recovery MRI scans). A support vector machine classifier is first trained on expert-defined WMLs, and is then used to classify new scans. Results: Postprocessing analysis further reduces false positives by using anatomic knowledge and measures of distance from the training set. Conclusions: Cross-validation on a population of 35 patients from three different imaging sites with WMLs of varying sizes, shapes, and locations tests the robustness and accuracy of the proposed segmentation method, compared with the manual segmentation results from two experienced neuroradiologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-313
Number of pages14
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes



  • machine learning
  • support vector machine
  • White matter lesion segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

Lao, Z., Shen, D., Liu, D., Jawad, A. F., Melhem, E. R., Launer, L. J., Bryan, R. N., & Davatzikos, C. (2008). Computer-Assisted Segmentation of White Matter Lesions in 3D MR Images Using Support Vector Machine. Academic Radiology, 15(3), 300-313.