Catalyzing Clinical Diagnostic Pipelines Through Volumetric Medical Image Segmentation Using Deep Neural Networks: Past, Present, Future

03/27/2021 ∙ by Teofilo E. Zosa, et al. ∙ 0

Deep learning has made a remarkable impact in the field of natural image processing over the past decade. Consequently, there is a great deal of interest in replicating this success across unsolved tasks in related domains, such as medical image analysis. Core to medical image analysis is the task of semantic segmentation which enables various clinical workflows. Due to the challenges inherent in manual segmentation, many decades of research have been devoted to discovering extensible, automated, expert-level segmentation techniques. Given the groundbreaking performance demonstrated by recent neural network-based techniques, deep learning seems poised to achieve what classic methods have historically been unable. This paper will briefly overview some of the state-of-the-art (SoTA) neural network-based segmentation algorithms with a particular emphasis on the most recent architectures, comparing and contrasting the contributions and characteristics of each network topology. Using ultrasonography as a motivating example, it will also demonstrate important clinical implications of effective deep learning-based solutions, articulate challenges unique to the modality, and discuss novel approaches developed in response to those challenges, concluding with the proposal of future directions in the field. Given the generally observed ephemerality of the best deep learning approaches (i.e. the extremely quick succession of the SoTA), the main contributions of the paper are its contextualization of modern deep learning architectures with historical background and the elucidation of the current trajectory of volumetric medical image segmentation research.

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