Divergence Prior and Vessel-tree Reconstruction

Zhongwen Zhang, Egor Chesakov, Dmitrii Marin, Yuri Boykov

We propose a new geometric regularization principle for reconstructing vector fields based on prior knowledge about their divergence. As one important example of this general idea, we focus on vector fields modelling blood flow pattern that should be divergent in arteries and convergent in veins. We show that this previously ignored regularization constraint can significantly improve the quality of vessel tree reconstruction particularly around bifurcations where non-zero divergence is concentrated. Our divergence prior is critical for resolving (binary) sign ambiguity in flow orientations produced by standard vessel filters, e.g. Frangi. Our vessel tree centerline reconstruction combines divergence constraints with robust curvature regularization. Our unsupervised method can reconstruct complete vessel trees with near-capillary details on synthetic and real 3D volumes.

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