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, 21 (1), 88-100

Development and Validation of a Deep Learning System for Segmentation of Abdominal Muscle and Fat on Computed Tomography

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Development and Validation of a Deep Learning System for Segmentation of Abdominal Muscle and Fat on Computed Tomography

Hyo Jung Park et al. Korean J Radiol.

Abstract

Objective: We aimed to develop and validate a deep learning system for fully automated segmentation of abdominal muscle and fat areas on computed tomography (CT) images.

Materials and methods: A fully convolutional network-based segmentation system was developed using a training dataset of 883 CT scans from 467 subjects. Axial CT images obtained at the inferior endplate level of the 3rd lumbar vertebra were used for the analysis. Manually drawn segmentation maps of the skeletal muscle, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat were created to serve as ground truth data. The performance of the fully convolutional network-based segmentation system was evaluated using the Dice similarity coefficient and cross-sectional area error, for both a separate internal validation dataset (426 CT scans from 308 subjects) and an external validation dataset (171 CT scans from 171 subjects from two outside hospitals).

Results: The mean Dice similarity coefficients for muscle, subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat were high for both the internal (0.96, 0.97, and 0.97, respectively) and external (0.97, 0.97, and 0.97, respectively) validation datasets, while the mean cross-sectional area errors for muscle, subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat were low for both internal (2.1%, 3.8%, and 1.8%, respectively) and external (2.7%, 4.6%, and 2.3%, respectively) validation datasets.

Conclusion: The fully convolutional network-based segmentation system exhibited high performance and accuracy in the automatic segmentation of abdominal muscle and fat on CT images.

Keywords: Adipose tissue; Artificial intelligence; Deep learning; Muscles; Sarcopenia.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Overview of patient recruitment process.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. Overview of FCN.
In our FCN training process, several upsampling layers were added, which enabled convolutional network to produce output layers with image resolution restored to original dimensions. FCN-32 s up-samples stride 32 predictions back to pixels. FCN-16 s combines predictions from both final layer and pooling 4 layers, allowing net to predict finer details while retaining high-level semantic information. FCN-8 s, FCN-4 s, and FCN-2 s receive additional predictions from pooling 3, pooling 2, and pooling 1, respectively, and thereby provide further precision. Conv = convolutional layer, FCN = fully convolutional network
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. Overview of FCN-based segmentation system.
ADF = anisotropic diffusion filter, GT = ground truth
Fig. 4
Fig. 4. Bland-Altman plots of muscle (A), subcutaneous fat (B), and visceral fat (C) for validation datasets.
Mean differences are equal to or less than 1.7 cm2, with limits of agreement being equal to or less than 9.7 cm2, suggesting comparable segmentation performance between ground truth and FCN-based segmentation results. SD = standard deviation
Fig. 5
Fig. 5. Example of appropriately evaluated FCN-based segmentation map.
A. Fusion image of all segmented areas. B–D. Segmentation maps of subcutaneous fat (B, coded in red), skeletal muscle (C, coded in purple), and visceral fat (D, coded in green). Dice similarity coefficients are 0.98, 0.99, and 0.98 for subcutaneous fat, skeletal muscle, and visceral fat, respectively.
Fig. 6
Fig. 6. Example of segmentation error.
A. Fusion image of all segmented areas. B. Segmentation map of subcutaneous fat (coded in red). There are areas with higher density compared with fat in subcutaneous area, which represent edema (dotted yellow line). Parts of subcutaneous fat abutting edema are not included in segmented subcutaneous fat (arrows). C. Segmentation map of skeletal muscle (coded in purple). Note subcutaneous edema segmented as muscle (arrowheads). D. Segmentation map of visceral fat. Some subcutaneous fat is erroneously segmented as visceral fat (arrows). Dice similarity coefficients are 0.78, 0.92, and 0.96 for subcutaneous fat, skeletal muscle, and visceral fat, respectively.

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