Knowledge-Aided Convolutional Neural Network for Small Organ Segmentation

IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2019 Jul;23(4):1363-1373. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2019.2891526. Epub 2019 Jan 9.


Accurate and automatic organ segmentation is critical for computer-aided analysis towards clinical decision support and treatment planning. State-of-the-art approaches have achieved remarkable segmentation accuracy on large organs, such as the liver and kidneys. However, most of these methods do not perform well on small organs, such as the pancreas, gallbladder, and adrenal glands, especially when lacking sufficient training data. This paper presents an automatic approach for small organ segmentation with limited training data using two cascaded steps-localization and segmentation. The localization stage involves the extraction of the region of interest after the registration of images to a common template and during the segmentation stage, a voxel-wise label map of the extracted region of interest is obtained and then transformed back to the original space. In the localization step, we propose to utilize a graph-based groupwise image registration method to build the template for registration so as to minimize the potential bias and avoid getting a fuzzy template. More importantly, a novel knowledge-aided convolutional neural network is proposed to improve segmentation accuracy in the second stage. This proposed network is flexible and can combine the effort of both deep learning and traditional methods, consequently achieving better segmentation relative to either of individual methods. The ISBI 2015 VISCERAL challenge dataset is used to evaluate the presented approach. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms cutting-edge deep learning approaches, traditional forest-based approaches, and multi-atlas approaches in the segmentation of small organs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / diagnostic imaging
  • Algorithms
  • Fuzzy Logic
  • Gallbladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed