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A semi-automated "blanket" method for renal segmentation from non-contrast T1-weighted MR images.


To investigate the precision and accuracy of a new semi-automated method for kidney segmentation from single-breath-hold non-contrast MRI.The user draws approximate kidney contours on every tenth slice, focusing on separating adjacent organs from the kidney. The program then performs a sequence of fully automatic steps: contour filling, interpolation, non-uniformity correction, sampling of representative parenchyma signal, and 3D binary morphology. Three independent observers applied the method to images of 40 kidneys ranging in volume from 94.6 to 254.5 cm(3). Manually constructed reference masks were used to assess accuracy.The volume errors for the three readers were: 4.4 % ± 3.0 %, 2.9 % ± 2.3 %, and 3.1 % ± 2.7 %. The relative discrepancy across readers was 2.5 % ± 2.1 %. The interactive processing time on average was 1.5 min per kidney.Pending further validation, the semi-automated method could be applied for monitoring of renal status using non-contrast MRI.