Autonomous diagnosis of pediatric cutaneous vascular anomalies using a convolutional neural network

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2022 May:156:111096. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2022.111096. Epub 2022 Mar 18.


Objectives: Design and validate a novel handheld device for the autonomous diagnosis of pediatric vascular anomalies using a convolutional neural network (CNN).

Study design: Retrospective, cross-sectional study of medical images. Computer aided design and 3D printed manufacturing.

Methods: We obtained a series of head and neck vascular anomaly images in pediatric patients from the database maintained in a large multidisciplinary vascular anomalies clinic. The database was supplemented with additional images from the internet. Four diagnostic classes were recognized in the dataset - infantile hemangioma, capillary malformation, venous malformation, and arterio-venous malformation. Our group designed and implemented a convolutional neural network to recognize the four classes of vascular anomalies as well as a fifth class consisting of none of the vascular anomalies. The system was based on the Inception-Resnet neural network using transfer learning. For deployment, we designed and built a compact, handheld device including a central processing unit, display subsystems, and control electronics. The device focuses upon and autonomously classifies pediatric vascular lesions.

Results: The multiclass system distinguished the diagnostic categories with an overall accuracy of 84%. The inclusion of lesion metadata improved overall accuracy to 94%. Sensitivity ranged from 88% (venous malformation) to 100% (arterio-venous malformation and capillary malformation).

Conclusions: An easily deployed handheld device to autonomously diagnose pediatric skin lesions is feasible. Large training datasets and novel neural network architectures will be required for successful implementation.

MeSH terms

  • Capillaries / abnormalities
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vascular Malformations* / diagnostic imaging

Supplementary concepts

  • Capillary Malformations, Congenital, 1