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Ultrasound Med Biol. 1998 Nov;24(9):1369-81.

Automatic three-dimensional reconstruction and characterization of articular cartilage from high-resolution ultrasound acquisitions.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Imagerie Paramétrique, CNRS URA 1458, Paris, France. lefeb@idf.ext.jussieu.fr


Three-dimensional (3D) high-resolution ultrasonography has proved to be useful for in vitro assessment of cartilage remodeling due to osteoarthritis. The diagnosis is performed by computation of the mean thickness of the cartilage, which reveals hypertrophy or thinning, and by 3D reconstruction of the data, which provides essential information about the size, extent, and localization of the lesion. In both cases, preliminary segmention of the cartilage is necessary. This article proposes an algorithm for automatic segmentation of the cartilage from 3D ultrasonic acquisitions of the rat patella, which includes the detection of the cartilage surface and the cartilage/bone interface. The method was designed on the assumption of regularity and smoothness of the interfaces. The use of a global threshold was sufficient to separate the patella area from the background. The cartilage/bone interface was detected by selection of regions of interest (ROIs) encompassing the interface, followed by the detection of the interface within these ROIs using the graph theory. The method was applied to 162 samples. The detection accuracy was judged to be very good or good in 99% of the cases for the cartilage surface and in 86% of the cases for the cartilage/bone interface. The mean cartilage thickness value in the central part of the patella obtained from the automatic detection method was compared to that obtained manually. The coefficient of correlation between the two measurements was 0.92. These results show that our method is reliable. Thus, fast processing of a large number of acquisitions and a more complete analysis of the cartilage surface become possible.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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