Automatic pulmonary fissure detection and lobe segmentation in CT chest images

Biomed Eng Online. 2014 May 7;13:59. doi: 10.1186/1475-925X-13-59.


Background: Multi-detector Computed Tomography has become an invaluable tool for the diagnosis of chronic respiratory diseases. Based on CT images, the automatic algorithm to detect the fissures and divide the lung into five lobes will help regionally quantify, amongst others, the lung density, texture, airway and, blood vessel structures, ventilation and perfusion.

Methods: Sagittal adaptive fissure scanning based on the sparseness of the vessels and bronchi is employed to localize the potential fissure region. Following a Hessian matrix based line enhancement filter in the coronal slice, the shortest path is determined by means of Uniform Cost Search. Implicit surface fitting based on Radial Basis Functions is used to extract the fissure surface for lobe segmentation. By three implicit fissure surface functions, the lung is divided into five lobes. The proposed algorithm is tested by 14 datasets. The accuracy is evaluated by the mean (±S.D.), root mean square, and the maximum of the shortest Euclidian distance from the manually-defined fissure surface to that extracted by the algorithm.

Results: Averaged over all datasets, the mean (±S.D.), root mean square, and the maximum of the shortest Euclidian distance are 2.05 ± 1.80, 2.46 and 7.34 mm for the right oblique fissure. The measures are 2.77 ± 2.12, 3.13 and 7.75 mm for the right horizontal fissure, 2.31 ± 1.76, 3.25 and 6.83 mm for the left oblique fissure. The fissure detection works for the data with a small lung nodule nearby the fissure and a small lung subpleural nodule. The volume and emphysema index of each lobe can be calculated. The algorithm is very fast, e.g., to finish the fissure detection and fissure extension for the dataset with 320 slices only takes around 50 seconds.

Conclusions: The sagittal adaptive fissure scanning can localize the potential fissure regions quickly. After the potential region is enhanced by a Hessian based line enhancement filter, Uniform Cost Search can extract the fissures successfully in 2D. Surface fitting is able to obtain three implicit surface functions for each dataset. The current algorithm shows good accuracy, robustness and speed, may help locate the lesions into each lobe and analyze them regionally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Automation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Lung / anatomy & histology*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Thoracic*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*