Convolutional neural networks for wound detection: the role of artificial intelligence in wound care

J Wound Care. 2019 Oct 1;28(Sup10):S13-S24. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2019.28.Sup10.S13.


Objective: Telemedicine is an essential support system for clinical settings outside the hospital. Recently, the importance of the model for assessment of telemedicine (MAST) has been emphasised. The development of an eHealth-supported wound assessment system using artificial intelligence is awaited. This study explored whether or not wound segmentation of a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) and a venous leg ulcer (VLU) by a convolutional neural network (CNN) was possible after being educated using sacral pressure ulcer (PU) data sets, and which CNN architecture was superior at segmentation.

Methods: CNNs with different algorithms and architectures were prepared. The four architectures were SegNet, LinkNet, U-Net and U-Net with the VGG16 Encoder Pre-Trained on ImageNet (Unet_VGG16). Each CNN learned the supervised data of sacral pressure ulcers (PUs).

Results: Among the four architectures, the best results were obtained with U-Net. U-Net demonstrated the second-highest accuracy in terms of the area under the curve (0.997) and a high specificity (0.943) and sensitivity (0.993), with the highest values obtained with Unet_VGG16. U-Net was also considered to be the most practical architecture and superior to the others in that the segmentation speed was faster than that of Unet_VGG16.

Conclusion: The U-Net CNN constructed using appropriately supervised data was capable of segmentation with high accuracy. These findings suggest that eHealth wound assessment using CNNs will be of practical use in the future.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; chronic wounds; convolutional neural networks; eHealth; wound assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Diabetic Foot / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Pressure Ulcer / diagnosis*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Varicose Ulcer / diagnosis*