Robust and Generalisable Segmentation of Subtle Epilepsy-causing Lesions: a Graph Convolutional Approach

by   Hannah Spitzer, et al.

Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is a leading cause of drug-resistant focal epilepsy, which can be cured by surgery. These lesions are extremely subtle and often missed even by expert neuroradiologists. "Ground truth" manual lesion masks are therefore expensive, limited and have large inter-rater variability. Existing FCD detection methods are limited by high numbers of false positive predictions, primarily due to vertex- or patch-based approaches that lack whole-brain context. Here, we propose to approach the problem as semantic segmentation using graph convolutional networks (GCN), which allows our model to learn spatial relationships between brain regions. To address the specific challenges of FCD identification, our proposed model includes an auxiliary loss to predict distance from the lesion to reduce false positives and a weak supervision classification loss to facilitate learning from uncertain lesion masks. On a multi-centre dataset of 1015 participants with surface-based features and manual lesion masks from structural MRI data, the proposed GCN achieved an AUC of 0.74, a significant improvement against a previously used vertex-wise multi-layer perceptron (MLP) classifier (AUC 0.64). With sensitivity thresholded at 67 to 49 clinical integration of lesion-detection tools into the radiological workflow, through increasing clinical confidence in the use of AI radiological adjuncts and reducing the number of areas requiring expert review.


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