Globally Optimal Segmentation of Mutually Interacting Surfaces using Deep Learning

by   Hui Xie, et al.

Segmentation of multiple surfaces in medical images is a challenging problem, further complicated by the frequent presence of weak boundary and mutual influence between adjacent objects. The traditional graph-based optimal surface segmentation method has proven its effectiveness with its ability of capturing various surface priors in a uniform graph model. However, its efficacy heavily relies on handcrafted features that are used to define the surface cost for the "goodness" of a surface. Recently, deep learning (DL) is emerging as powerful tools for medical image segmentation thanks to its superior feature learning capability. Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of training data in medical imaging, it is nontrivial for DL networks to implicitly learn the global structure of the target surfaces, including surface interactions. In this work, we propose to parameterize the surface cost functions in the graph model and leverage DL to learn those parameters. The multiple optimal surfaces are then simultaneously detected by minimizing the total surface cost while explicitly enforcing the mutual surface interaction constraints. The optimization problem is solved by the primal-dual Internal Point Method, which can be implemented by a layer of neural networks, enabling efficient end-to-end training of the whole network. Experiments on Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT) retinal layer segmentation and Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) vessel wall segmentation demonstrated very promising results. All source code is public to facilitate further research at this direction.


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