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IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2014 Jan;18(1):139-47. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2013.2261998.

3-D vascular skeleton extraction and decomposition.


We introduce a novel vascular skeleton extraction and decomposition technique for computer-assisted diagnosis and analysis. We start by addressing the problem of vascular decomposition as a cluster optimization problem and present a methodology for weighted convex approximations. Decomposed vessel structures are then grouped using the vessel skeleton, extracted using a Laplace-based operator. The method is validated using presegmented sections of vasculature archived for 98 aneurysms in 112 patients. We test first for vascular decomposition and next for vessel skeleton extraction. The proposed method produced promising results with an estimated 80.5% of the vessel sections correctly decomposed and 92.9% of the vessel sections having the correct number of skeletal branches, identified by a clinical radiological expert. Next, the method was validated on longitudinal study data from n = 4 subjects, where vascular skeleton extraction and decomposition was performed. Volumetric and surface area comparisons were made between expert segmented sections and the proposed approach on sections containing aneurysms. Results suggest that the method is able to detect changes in aneurysm volumes and surface areas close to that segmented by an expert.

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