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Skin Res Technol. 2005 May;11(2):79-90.

Automatic measurement of dermal thickness from B-scan ultrasound images using active contours.

Author information

Cerper, Centre Jean-Louis Alibert, Institut de Recherche Pierre Fabre, Hotel Dieu Saint-Jacques, Toulouse, France.



Measurement of dermal thickness is useful in the evaluation of dermo-cosmetics for assessing not only morphological changes but also mechanical properties of this layer. Our aim was first to standardise the manual dermal thickness measurement procedure on B-scan ultrasound images, then to develop an automatic operator independent method to detect the boundaries of the dermis.


The Dermcup 20 MHz B-scan ultrasound system was used. The method used for detecting the boundaries was adapted from active contour algorithms. The innovative aspect of the method consists in an automatic initialization of the first step of the algorithm. To validate the method, we correlated measurements obtained by the manual and automatic approaches from a set of images from different anatomical sites.


The results showed for the two measurement methods, 72% of the images were perfectly correlated. The remaining images required manual initialization of the boundaries by a non-expert operator before the active contour process could be used. Subsequent to this semi-automatic procedure, the correlation was very high.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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