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Few Labeled Atlases are Necessary for Deep-Learning-Based Segmentation

by   Hyeon Woo Lee, et al.

We tackle biomedical image segmentation in the scenario of only a few labeled brain MR images. This is an important and challenging task in medical applications, where manual annotations are time-consuming. Classical multi-atlas based anatomical segmentation methods use image registration to warp segments from labeled images onto a new scan. These approaches have traditionally required significant runtime, but recent learning-based registration methods promise substantial runtime improvement. In a different paradigm, supervised learning-based segmentation strategies have gained popularity. These methods have consistently used relatively large sets of labeled training data, and their behavior in the regime of a few labeled images has not been thoroughly evaluated. In this work, we provide two important results for anatomical segmentation in the scenario where few labeled images are available. First, we propose a straightforward implementation of efficient semi-supervised learning-based registration method, which we showcase in a multi-atlas segmentation framework. Second, through a thorough empirical study, we evaluate the performance of a supervised segmentation approach, where the training images are augmented via random deformations. Surprisingly, we find that in both paradigms, accurate segmentation is generally possible even in the context of few labeled images.


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