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IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2008 Apr;27(4):457-66. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2007.907328.

Quantification of thyroid volume using 3-D ultrasound imaging.

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Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institut fur Informatik, Martensstrasse 3, 91058 Erlangen, Germany.


Ultrasound (US) is among the most popular diagnostic techniques today. It is non-invasive, fast, comparably cheap, and does not require ionizing radiation. US is commonly used to examine the size, and structure of the thyroid gland. In clinical routine, thyroid imaging is usually performed by means of 2-D US. Conventional approaches for measuring the volume of the thyroid gland or its nodules may therefore be inaccurate due to the lack of 3-D information. This work reports a semi-automatic segmentation approach for the classification, and analysis of the thyroid gland based on 3-D US data. The images are scanned in 3-D, pre-processed, and segmented. Several pre-processing methods, and an extension of a commonly used geodesic active contour level set formulation are discussed in detail. The results obtained by this approach are compared to manual interactive segmentations by a medical expert in five representative patients. Our work proposes a novel framework for the volumetric quantification of thyroid gland lobes, which may also be expanded to other parenchymatous organs.

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