The ParaspInaL muscLe segmentAtion pRoject (PILLAR) is a comprehensive on-line resource of protocols and tutorials for manual segmentation of paraspinal muscles.

The literature on paraspinal musculature is expanding. While this is fantastic news for investigating the morphology and function of these muscles and their relationships with pathologies and biomechanics, there is currently no standardized segmentation protocol. It is imperative to have consistent guidelines in order to properly compare results and further our understanding of the role paraspinal musculature plays in the body and in varying pathologies. The PILLAR project aims to provide new users with easy to follow protocols and introduce an open source software for segmentations that is user-friendly.

ITK SNAP is a software program that allows users to complete segmentations of medical images. While commonly used for brain imaging, ITK SNAP can be used to segment other structures within the body both in 2D and 3D. For further details on what ITK SNAP is and its creators, please visit Here, we present a reference guide for manual segmentation of MRI images of lumbar spine musculature for users new to ITK SNAP.

System protocols and additional videos of using the software can be found here: Please note that these training videos use MRI images of the brain and not the lumbar spine. The goal of the current page is to introduce the ITK SNAP software to the lumbar spine community specifically as a means for segmenting lumbar spine musculature.