Bridging the Gap In Medical Image Analysis and Biomechanics with ITK-SNAP
Alison Pouch (University of Pennsylvania)
This grant supports implementation of biomechanical analysis features in ITK-SNAP, an open source application for medical image segmentation, with the goal of streamlining image processing, anatomical modeling, and tissue mechanics analysis from clinical image data.
ITK-SNAP is one of the most widely used open-source platforms for medical image segmentation. Open-source software for medical image visualization and segmentation has advanced biomedical research by enabling measurement and modeling of anatomical structures in clinical image data. Likewise, biomechanics software that estimates quantities like tissue strain and stress have contributed to medical device modeling and to our understanding of disease pathophysiology. However, open-source tools for image processing are often disjointed from biomechanical analysis, making it tedious for engineers and nearly infeasible for clinicians to extract biomechanical information about patient-specific physiology from medical images. The commercial tools that perform such tasks are customized for specific applications and image formats, and their proprietary algorithms are not accessible for validation or adaptation to new questions by the medical research community. As a result, research in tissue biomechanics and medical device design frequently uses simplified anatomical geometries rather than more realistic models derived from actual clinical images. ITK-SNAP enables streamlined image processing, anatomical modeling, and strain measurement from patient data using open source technology.