Single and multiscale detection of masses in digital mammograms

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 1999 Jul;18(7):628-39. doi: 10.1109/42.790462.


Scale is an important issue in the automated detection of masses in mammograms, due to the range of possible sizes masses can have. In this work, it was examined if detection of masses can be done at a single scale, or whether it is more appropriate to use the output of the detection method at different scales in a multiscale scheme. Three different pixel-based mass-detection methods were used for this purpose. The first method is based on convolution of a mammogram with the Laplacian of a Gaussian, the second method is based on correlation with a model of a mass, and the third is a new approach, based on statistical analysis of gradient-orientation maps. Experiments with simulated masses indicated that little can be gained by applying the methods at a number of scales. These results were confirmed by experiments on a set of 71 cases (132 mammograms) containing a malignant tumor. The performance of each method in a multiscale scheme was similar to the performance at the optimal single scale. A slight improvement was found for the correlation method when the output of different scales was combined. This was especially evident at low specificity levels. The correlation method and the gradient-orientation-analysis method have similar performances. A sensitivity of approximately 75% is reached at a level of one false positive per image. The method based on convolution with the Laplacian of the Gaussian performed considerably worse, in both a single and multiscale scheme.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity