Fully automatic segmentation of paraspinal muscles from 3D torso CT images via multi-scale iterative random forest classifications

Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2018 Nov;13(11):1697-1706. doi: 10.1007/s11548-018-1852-1. Epub 2018 Sep 1.


Purpose: To develop and validate a fully automatic method for segmentation of paraspinal muscles from 3D torso CT images.

Methods: We propose a novel learning-based method to address this challenging problem. Multi-scale iterative random forest classifications with multi-source information are employed in this study to speed up the segmentation and to improve the accuracy. Here, multi-source images include the original torso CT images and later also the iteratively estimated and refined probability maps of the paraspinal muscles. We validated our method on 20 torso CT data with associated manual segmentation. We randomly partitioned the 20 CT data into two evenly distributed groups and took one group as the training data and the other group as the test data.

Results: The proposed method achieved a mean Dice coefficient of 93.0%. It took on average 46.5 s to segment a 3D torso CT image with the size ranging from [Formula: see text] voxels to [Formula: see text] voxels.

Conclusions: Our fully automatic, learning-based method can accurately segment paraspinal muscles from 3D torso CT images. It generates segmentation results that are better than those achieved by the state-of-the-art methods.

Keywords: CT; Paraspinal muscles; Random forest; Segmentation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraspinal Muscles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Probability
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Torso / diagnostic imaging