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Spatial suppression of peripheral regions (outer volume suppression) is used in MR spectroscopic imaging to reduce contamination from strong lipid and water signals. The manual placement of outer volume suppression slices requires significant operator interaction, which is time consuming and introduces variability in volume coverage. Placing a large number of outer volume saturation bands for volumetric MR spectroscopic imaging studies is particularly challenging and time consuming and becomes unmanageable as the number of suppression bands increases. In this study, a method is presented that automatically segments a high-resolution MR image in order to identify the peripheral lipid-containing regions. This method computes an optimized placement of suppression bands in three dimensions and is based on the maximization of a criterion function. This criterion function maximizes coverage of peripheral lipid-containing areas and minimizes suppression of cortical brain regions and regions outside of the head. Computer simulation demonstrates automatic placement of 16 suppression slices to form a convex hull that covers peripheral lipid-containing regions above the base of the brain. In vivo metabolite mapping obtained with short echo time proton-echo-planar spectroscopic imaging shows that the automatic method yields a placement of suppression slices that is very similar to that of a skilled human operator in terms of lipid suppression and usable brain voxels.