Modified U-Net (mU-Net) with Incorporation of Object-Dependent High Level Features for Improved Liver and Liver-Tumor Segmentation in CT Images

10/31/2019 ∙ by Hyunseok Seo, et al. ∙ 38

Segmentation of livers and liver tumors is one of the most important steps in radiation therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma. The segmentation task is often done manually, making it tedious, labor intensive, and subject to intra-/inter- operator variations. While various algorithms for delineating organ-at-risks (OARs) and tumor targets have been proposed, automatic segmentation of livers and liver tumors remains intractable due to their low tissue contrast with respect to the surrounding organs and their deformable shape in CT images. The U-Net has gained increasing popularity recently for image analysis tasks and has shown promising results. Conventional U-Net architectures, however, suffer from three major drawbacks. To cope with these problems, we added a residual path with deconvolution and activation operations to the skip connection of the U-Net to avoid duplication of low resolution information of features. In the case of small object inputs, features in the skip connection are not incorporated with features in the residual path. Furthermore, the proposed architecture has additional convolution layers in the skip connection in order to extract high level global features of small object inputs as well as high level features of high resolution edge information of large object inputs. Efficacy of the modified U-Net (mU-Net) was demonstrated using the public dataset of Liver tumor segmentation (LiTS) challenge 2017. The proposed mU-Net outperformed existing state-of-art networks.

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