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Skin Res Technol. 2013 Feb;19(1):e27-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2011.00603.x. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

A feature-preserving hair removal algorithm for dermoscopy images.

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Department of Computer Science, National Textile University, Faisalabad, Pakistan.



Accurate segmentation and repair of hair-occluded information from dermoscopy images are challenging tasks for computer-aided detection (CAD) of melanoma. Currently, many hair-restoration algorithms have been developed, but most of these fail to identify hairs accurately and their removal technique is slow and disturbs the lesion's pattern.


In this article, a novel hair-restoration algorithm is presented, which has a capability to preserve the skin lesion features such as color and texture and able to segment both dark and light hairs. Our algorithm is based on three major steps: the rough hairs are segmented using a matched filtering with first derivative of gaussian (MF-FDOG) with thresholding that generate strong responses for both dark and light hairs, refinement of hairs by morphological edge-based techniques, which are repaired through a fast marching inpainting method. Diagnostic accuracy (DA) and texture-quality measure (TQM) metrics are utilized based on dermatologist-drawn manual hair masks that were used as a ground truth to evaluate the performance of the system.


The hair-restoration algorithm is tested on 100 dermoscopy images. The comparisons have been done among (i) linear interpolation, inpainting by (ii) non-linear partial differential equation (PDE), and (iii) exemplar-based repairing techniques. Among different hair detection and removal techniques, our proposed algorithm obtained the highest value of DA: 93.3% and TQM: 90%.


The experimental results indicate that the proposed algorithm is highly accurate, robust and able to restore hair pixels without damaging the lesion texture. This method is fully automatic and can be easily integrated into a CAD system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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