CUTS: A Fully Unsupervised Framework for Medical Image Segmentation

by   Matthew Amodio, et al.

In this work we introduce CUTS (Contrastive and Unsupervised Training for Segmentation) the first fully unsupervised deep learning framework for medical image segmentation, facilitating the use of the vast majority of imaging data that is not labeled or annotated. Segmenting medical images into regions of interest is a critical task for facilitating both patient diagnoses and quantitative research. A major limiting factor in this segmentation is the lack of labeled data, as getting expert annotations for each new set of imaging data or task can be expensive, labor intensive, and inconsistent across annotators: thus, we utilize self-supervision based on pixel-centered patches from the images themselves. Our unsupervised approach is based on a training objective with both contrastive learning and autoencoding aspects. Previous contrastive learning approaches for medical image segmentation have focused on image-level contrastive training, rather than our intra-image patch-level approach or have used this as a pre-training task where the network needed further supervised training afterwards. By contrast, we build the first entirely unsupervised framework that operates at the pixel-centered-patch level. Specifically, we add novel augmentations, a patch reconstruction loss, and introduce a new pixel clustering and identification framework. Our model achieves improved results on several key medical imaging tasks, as verified by held-out expert annotations on the task of segmenting geographic atrophy (GA) regions of images of the retina.


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