Performance of a Deep-Learning Neural Network Model in Assessing Skeletal Maturity on Pediatric Hand Radiographs

Radiology. 2018 Apr;287(1):313-322. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2017170236. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Purpose To compare the performance of a deep-learning bone age assessment model based on hand radiographs with that of expert radiologists and that of existing automated models. Materials and Methods The institutional review board approved the study. A total of 14 036 clinical hand radiographs and corresponding reports were obtained from two children's hospitals to train and validate the model. For the first test set, composed of 200 examinations, the mean of bone age estimates from the clinical report and three additional human reviewers was used as the reference standard. Overall model performance was assessed by comparing the root mean square (RMS) and mean absolute difference (MAD) between the model estimates and the reference standard bone ages. Ninety-five percent limits of agreement were calculated in a pairwise fashion for all reviewers and the model. The RMS of a second test set composed of 913 examinations from the publicly available Digital Hand Atlas was compared with published reports of an existing automated model. Results The mean difference between bone age estimates of the model and of the reviewers was 0 years, with a mean RMS and MAD of 0.63 and 0.50 years, respectively. The estimates of the model, the clinical report, and the three reviewers were within the 95% limits of agreement. RMS for the Digital Hand Atlas data set was 0.73 years, compared with 0.61 years of a previously reported model. Conclusion A deep-learning convolutional neural network model can estimate skeletal maturity with accuracy similar to that of an expert radiologist and to that of existing automated models. © RSNA, 2017 An earlier incorrect version of this article appeared online. This article was corrected on January 19, 2018.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Determination by Skeleton / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hand / anatomy & histology*
  • Hand / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Machine Learning*
  • Male
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Radiography / methods*
  • Young Adult