Deep convolutional networks for automated detection of posterior-element fractures on spine CT

by   Holger R. Roth, et al.

Injuries of the spine, and its posterior elements in particular, are a common occurrence in trauma patients, with potentially devastating consequences. Computer-aided detection (CADe) could assist in the detection and classification of spine fractures. Furthermore, CAD could help assess the stability and chronicity of fractures, as well as facilitate research into optimization of treatment paradigms. In this work, we apply deep convolutional networks (ConvNets) for the automated detection of posterior element fractures of the spine. First, the vertebra bodies of the spine with its posterior elements are segmented in spine CT using multi-atlas label fusion. Then, edge maps of the posterior elements are computed. These edge maps serve as candidate regions for predicting a set of probabilities for fractures along the image edges using ConvNets in a 2.5D fashion (three orthogonal patches in axial, coronal and sagittal planes). We explore three different methods for training the ConvNet using 2.5D patches along the edge maps of 'positive', i.e. fractured posterior-elements and 'negative', i.e. non-fractured elements. An experienced radiologist retrospectively marked the location of 55 displaced posterior-element fractures in 18 trauma patients. We randomly split the data into training and testing cases. In testing, we achieve an area-under-the-curve of 0.857. This corresponds to 71 5 or 10 false-positives per patient, respectively. Analysis of our set of trauma patients demonstrates the feasibility of detecting posterior-element fractures in spine CT images using computer vision techniques such as deep convolutional networks.


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