An efficient semi-supervised quality control system trained using physics-based MRI-artefact generators and adversarial training

by   Daniele Ravì, et al.

Large medical imaging data sets are becoming increasingly available. A common challenge in these data sets is to ensure that each sample meets minimum quality requirements devoid of significant artefacts. Despite a wide range of existing automatic methods having been developed to identify imperfections and artefacts in medical imaging, they mostly rely on data-hungry methods. In particular, the lack of sufficient scans with artefacts available for training has created a barrier in designing and deploying machine learning in clinical research. To tackle this problem, we propose a novel framework having four main components: (1) a set of artefact generators inspired by magnetic resonance physics to corrupt brain MRI scans and augment a training dataset, (2) a set of abstract and engineered features to represent images compactly, (3) a feature selection process that depends on the class of artefact to improve classification performance, and (4) a set of Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifiers trained to identify artefacts. Our novel contributions are threefold: first, we use the novel physics-based artefact generators to generate synthetic brain MRI scans with controlled artefacts as a data augmentation technique. This will avoid the labour-intensive collection and labelling process of scans with rare artefacts. Second, we propose a large pool of abstract and engineered image features developed to identify 9 different artefacts for structural MRI. Finally, we use an artefact-based feature selection block that, for each class of artefacts, finds the set of features that provide the best classification performance. We performed validation experiments on a large data set of scans with artificially-generated artefacts, and in a multiple sclerosis clinical trial where real artefacts were identified by experts, showing that the proposed pipeline outperforms traditional methods.


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