## Abstract

### Background

Robust point matching (RPM) has been extensively used in non-rigid registration of images to robustly register two sets of image points. However, except for the location at control points, RPM cannot estimate the consistent correspondence between two images because RPM is a unidirectional image matching approach. Therefore, it is an important issue to make an improvement in image registration based on RPM.

### Methods

In our work, a consistent image registration approach based on the point sets matching is proposed to incorporate the property of inverse consistency and improve registration accuracy. Instead of only estimating the forward transformation between the source point sets and the target point sets in state-of-the-art RPM algorithms, the forward and backward transformations between two point sets are estimated concurrently in our algorithm. The inverse consistency constraints are introduced to the cost function of RPM and the fuzzy correspondences between two point sets are estimated based on both the forward and backward transformations simultaneously. A modified consistent landmark thin-plate spline registration is discussed in detail to find the forward and backward transformations during the optimization of RPM. The similarity of image content is also incorporated into point matching in order to improve image matching.

### Results

Synthetic data sets, medical images are employed to demonstrate and validate the performance of our approach. The inverse consistent errors of our algorithm are smaller than RPM. Especially, the topology of transformations is preserved well for our algorithm for the large deformation between point sets. Moreover, the distance errors of our algorithm are similar to that of RPM, and they maintain a downward trend as whole, which demonstrates the convergence of our algorithm. The registration errors for image registrations are evaluated also. Again, our algorithm achieves the lower registration errors in same iteration number. The determinant of the Jacobian matrix of the deformation field is used to analyse the smoothness of the forward and backward transformations. The forward and backward transformations estimated by our algorithm are smooth for small deformation. For registration of lung slices and individual brain slices, large or small determinant of the Jacobian matrix of the deformation fields are observed.

### Conclusions

Results indicate the improvement of the proposed algorithm in bi-directional image registration and the decrease of the inverse consistent errors of the forward and the reverse transformations between two images.