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Med Phys. 2007 Nov;34(11):4109-25.

Fast prostate segmentation in 3D TRUS images based on continuity constraint using an autoregressive model.

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Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, 100 Perth Drive, London, Ontario, Canada.


In this article a new slice-based 3D prostate segmentation method based on a continuity constraint, implemented as an autoregressive (AR) model is described. In order to decrease the propagated segmentation error produced by the slice-based 3D segmentation method, a continuity constraint was imposed in the prostate segmentation algorithm. A 3D ultrasound image was segmented using the slice-based segmentation method. Then, a cross-sectional profile of the resulting contours was obtained by intersecting the 2D segmented contours with a coronal plane passing through the midpoint of the manually identified rotational axis, which is considered to be the approximate center of the prostate. On the coronal cross-sectional plane, these intersections form a set of radial lines directed from the center of the prostate. The lengths of these radial lines were smoothed using an AR model. Slice-based 3D segmentations were performed in the clockwise and in the anticlockwise directions, where clockwise and anticlockwise are defined with respect to the propagation directions on the coronal view. This resulted in two different segmentations for each 2D slice. For each pair of unmatched segments, in which the distance between the contour generated clockwise and that generated anticlockwise was greater than 4 mm, a method was used to select the optimal contour. Experiments performed using 3D prostate ultrasound images of nine patients demonstrated that the proposed method produced accurate 3D prostate boundaries without manual editing. The average distance between the proposed method and manual segmentation was 1.29 mm. The average intraobserver coefficient of variation (i.e., the standard deviation divided by the average volume) of the boundaries segmented by the proposed method was 1.6%. The average segmentation time of a 352 x 379 x 704 image on a Pentium IV 2.8 GHz PC was 10 s.

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