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Precise segmentation of multiple organs in CT volumes using learning-based approach and information theory.

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Image Analytics and Informatics, Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.


In this paper, we present a novel method by incorporating information theory into the learning-based approach for automatic and accurate pelvic organ segmentation (including the prostate, bladder and rectum). We target 3D CT volumes that are generated using different scanning protocols (e.g., contrast and non-contrast, with and without implant in the prostate, various resolution and position), and the volumes come from largely diverse sources (e.g., diseased in different organs). Three key ingredients are combined to solve this challenging segmentation problem. First, marginal space learning (MSL) is applied to efficiently and effectively localize the multiple organs in the largely diverse CT volumes. Second, learning techniques, steerable features, are applied for robust boundary detection. This enables handling of highly heterogeneous texture pattern. Third, a novel information theoretic scheme is incorporated into the boundary inference process. The incorporation of the Jensen-Shannon divergence further drives the mesh to the best fit of the image, thus improves the segmentation performance. The proposed approach is tested on a challenging dataset containing 188 volumes from diverse sources. Our approach not only produces excellent segmentation accuracy, but also runs about eighty times faster than previous state-of-the-art solutions. The proposed method can be applied to CT images to provide visual guidance to physicians during the computer-aided diagnosis, treatment planning and image-guided radiotherapy to treat cancers in pelvic region.

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