Supervised Tractogram Filtering using Geometric Deep Learning

by   Pietro Astolfi, et al.

A tractogram is a virtual representation of the brain white matter. It is composed of millions of virtual fibers, encoded as 3D polylines, which approximate the white matter axonal pathways. To date, tractograms are the most accurate white matter representation and thus are used for tasks like presurgical planning and investigations of neuroplasticity, brain disorders, or brain networks. However, it is a well-known issue that a large portion of tractogram fibers is not anatomically plausible and can be considered artifacts of the tracking procedure. With Verifyber, we tackle the problem of filtering out such non-plausible fibers using a novel fully-supervised learning approach. Differently from other approaches based on signal reconstruction and/or brain topology regularization, we guide our method with the existing anatomical knowledge of the white matter. Using tractograms annotated according to anatomical principles, we train our model, Verifyber, to classify fibers as either anatomically plausible or non-plausible. The proposed Verifyber model is an original Geometric Deep Learning method that can deal with variable size fibers, while being invariant to fiber orientation. Our model considers each fiber as a graph of points, and by learning features of the edges between consecutive points via the proposed sequence Edge Convolution, it can capture the underlying anatomical properties. The output filtering results highly accurate and robust across an extensive set of experiments, and fast; with a 12GB GPU, filtering a tractogram of 1M fibers requires less than a minute. Verifyber implementation and trained models are available at


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