A Hybrid 3D Colon Segmentation Method Using Modified Geometric Deformable Models

Document Type: Original Paper

Authors

1 M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Physics and Biomedical Engineering Dept., Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Dept., Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Radiology Dept., Tehran University of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Introduction: Nowadays virtual colonoscopy has become a reliable and efficient method of detecting primary stages of colon cancer such as polyp detection. One of the most important and crucial stages of virtual colonoscopy is colon segmentation because an incorrect segmentation may lead to a misdiagnosis. 
Materials and Methods: In this work, a hybrid method based on Geometric Deformable Models (GDM) in combination with an advanced region growing and thresholding methods is proposed. GDM are found to be an attractive tool for structural based image segmentation particularly for extracting the objects with complicated topology. There are two main parameters influencing the overall performance of GDM algorithm; the distance between the initial contour and the actual object’s contours and secondly the stopping term which controls the deformation. To overcome these limitations, a two stage hybrid based segmentation method is suggested to extract the rough but precise initial contours at the first stage of the segmentation. The extracted boundaries are smoothed and improved using a modified GDM algorithm by improving the stopping terms of the algorithm based on the gradient value of image voxels.
Results: The proposed algorithm was implemented on forty data sets each containing 400-480 slices. The results show an improvement in the accuracy and smoothness of the extracted boundaries. The improvement obtained for the accuracy of segmentation is about 6% in comparison to the one achieved by the methods based on thresholding and region growing only.
Discussion and Conclusion: The extracted contours using modified GDM are smoother and finer. The improvement achieved in this work on the performance of stopping function of GDM model together with applying two stage segmentation of boundaries have resulted in a great improvement on the computational efficiency of GDM algorithm while making smoother and finer colon borders. 

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