The early detection, diagnosis and monitoring of liver cancer progression can be achieved with the precise delineation of metastatic tumours. However, accurate automated segmentation remains challenging due to the presence of noise, inhomogeneity and the high appearance variability of malignant tissue. In this paper, we propose an unsupervised metastatic liver tumour segmentation framework using a machine learning approach based on discriminant Grassmannian manifolds which learns the appearance of tumours with respect to normal tissue. First, the framework learns within-class and between-class similarity distributions from a training set of images to discover the optimal manifold discrimination between normal and pathological tissue in the liver. Second, a conditional optimisation scheme computes nonlocal pairwise as well as pattern-based clique potentials from the manifold subspace to recognise regions with similar labelings and to incorporate global consistency in the segmentation process. The proposed framework was validated on a clinical database of 43 CT images from patients with metastatic liver cancer. Compared to state-of-the-art methods, our method achieves a better performance on two separate datasets of metastatic liver tumours from different clinical sites, yielding an overall mean Dice similarity coefficient of 90.7 +/- 2.4 in over 50 tumours with an average volume of 27.3 mm3. Click to Read Paper
We propose a model for the joint segmentation of the liver and liver lesions in computed tomography (CT) volumes. We build the model from two fully convolutional networks, connected in tandem and trained together end-to-end. We evaluate our approach on the 2017 MICCAI Liver Tumour Segmentation Challenge, attaining competitive liver and liver lesion detection and segmentation scores across a wide range of metrics. Unlike other top performing methods, our model output post-processing is trivial, we do not use data external to the challenge, and we propose a simple single-stage model that is trained end-to-end. However, our method nearly matches the top lesion segmentation performance and achieves the second highest precision for lesion detection while maintaining high recall. Click to Read Paper
It is well known that it is challenging to train deep neural networks and recurrent neural networks for tasks that exhibit long term dependencies. The vanishing or exploding gradient problem is a well known issue associated with these challenges. One approach to addressing vanishing and exploding gradients is to use either soft or hard constraints on weight matrices so as to encourage or enforce orthogonality. Orthogonal matrices preserve gradient norm during backpropagation and may therefore be a desirable property. This paper explores issues with optimization convergence, speed and gradient stability when encouraging or enforcing orthogonality. To perform this analysis, we propose a weight matrix factorization and parameterization strategy through which we can bound matrix norms and therein control the degree of expansivity induced during backpropagation. We find that hard constraints on orthogonality can negatively affect the speed of convergence and model performance. Click to Read Paper
Anterior Vertebral Body Growth Modulation (AVBGM) is a minimally invasive surgical technique that gradually corrects spine deformities while preserving lumbar motion. However the selection of potential surgical patients is currently based on clinical judgment and would be facilitated by the identification of patients responding to AVBGM prior to surgery. We introduce a statistical framework for predicting the surgical outcomes following AVBGM in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis. A discriminant manifold is first constructed to maximize the separation between responsive and non-responsive groups of patients treated with AVBGM for scoliosis. The model then uses subject-specific correction trajectories based on articulated transformations in order to map spine correction profiles to a group-average piecewise-geodesic path. Spine correction trajectories are described in a piecewise-geodesic fashion to account for varying times at follow-up exams, regressing the curve via a quadratic optimization process. To predict the evolution of correction, a baseline reconstruction is projected onto the manifold, from which a spatiotemporal regression model is built from parallel transport curves inferred from neighboring exemplars. The model was trained on 438 reconstructions and tested on 56 subjects using 3D spine reconstructions from follow-up exams, with the probabilistic framework yielding accurate results with differences of 2.1 +/- 0.6deg in main curve angulation, and generating models similar to biomechanical simulations. Click to Read Paper
In this paper, we study the influence of both long and short skip connections on Fully Convolutional Networks (FCN) for biomedical image segmentation. In standard FCNs, only long skip connections are used to skip features from the contracting path to the expanding path in order to recover spatial information lost during downsampling. We extend FCNs by adding short skip connections, that are similar to the ones introduced in residual networks, in order to build very deep FCNs (of hundreds of layers). A review of the gradient flow confirms that for a very deep FCN it is beneficial to have both long and short skip connections. Finally, we show that a very deep FCN can achieve near-to-state-of-the-art results on the EM dataset without any further post-processing. Click to Read Paper
Ultrasound (US) can be used to assess brain development in newborns, as MRI is challenging due to immobilization issues, and may require sedation. Dilatation of the lateral ventricles in the brain is a risk factor for poorer neurodevelopment outcomes in infants. Hence, 3D US has the ability to assess the volume of the lateral ventricles similar to clinically standard MRI, but manual segmentation is time consuming. The objective of this study is to develop an approach quantifying the ratio of lateral ventricular dilatation with respect to total brain volume using 3D US, which can assess the severity of macrocephaly. Automatic segmentation of the lateral ventricles is achieved with a multi-atlas deformable registration approach using locally linear correlation metrics for US-MRI fusion, followed by a refinement step using deformable mesh models. Total brain volume is estimated using a 3D ellipsoid modeling approach. Validation was performed on a cohort of 12 infants, ranging from 2 to 8.5 months old, where 3D US and MRI were used to compare brain volumes and segmented lateral ventricles. Automatically extracted volumes from 3D US show a high correlation and no statistically significant difference when compared to ground truth measurements. Differences in volume ratios was 6.0 +/- 4.8% compared to MRI, while lateral ventricular segmentation yielded a mean Dice coefficient of 70.8 +/- 3.6% and a mean absolute distance (MAD) of 0.88 +/- 0.2mm, demonstrating the clinical benefit of this tool in paediatric ultrasound. Click to Read Paper
We introduce a novel approach for predicting the progression of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis from 3D spine models reconstructed from biplanar X-ray images. Recent progress in machine learning have allowed to improve classification and prognosis rates, but lack a probabilistic framework to measure uncertainty in the data. We propose a discriminative probabilistic manifold embedding where locally linear mappings transform data points from high-dimensional space to corresponding low-dimensional coordinates. A discriminant adjacency matrix is constructed to maximize the separation between progressive and non-progressive groups of patients diagnosed with scoliosis, while minimizing the distance in latent variables belonging to the same class. To predict the evolution of deformation, a baseline reconstruction is projected onto the manifold, from which a spatiotemporal regression model is built from parallel transport curves inferred from neighboring exemplars. Rate of progression is modulated from the spine flexibility and curve magnitude of the 3D spine deformation. The method was tested on 745 reconstructions from 133 subjects using longitudinal 3D reconstructions of the spine, with results demonstrating the discriminatory framework can identify between progressive and non-progressive of scoliotic patients with a classification rate of 81% and prediction differences of 2.1$^{o}$ in main curve angulation, outperforming other manifold learning methods. Our method achieved a higher prediction accuracy and improved the modeling of spatiotemporal morphological changes in highly deformed spines compared to other learning methods. Click to Read Paper
We propose a modular and scalable framework for dense coregistration and cosegmentation with two key characteristics: first, we substitute ground truth data with the semantic map output of a classifier; second, we combine this output with population deformable registration to improve both alignment and segmentation. Our approach deforms all volumes towards consensus, taking into account image similarities and label consistency. Our pipeline can incorporate any classifier and similarity metric. Results on two datasets, containing annotations of challenging brain structures, demonstrate the potential of our method. Click to Read Paper
In this paper we propose a deep learning approach for segmenting sub-cortical structures of the human brain in Magnetic Resonance (MR) image data. We draw inspiration from a state-of-the-art Fully-Convolutional Neural Network (F-CNN) architecture for semantic segmentation of objects in natural images, and adapt it to our task. Unlike previous CNN-based methods that operate on image patches, our model is applied on a full blown 2D image, without any alignment or registration steps at testing time. We further improve segmentation results by interpreting the CNN output as potentials of a Markov Random Field (MRF), whose topology corresponds to a volumetric grid. Alpha-expansion is used to perform approximate inference imposing spatial volumetric homogeneity to the CNN priors. We compare the performance of the proposed pipeline with a similar system using Random Forest-based priors, as well as state-of-art segmentation algorithms, and show promising results on two different brain MRI datasets. Click to Read Paper
In this paper, we introduce a simple, yet powerful pipeline for medical image segmentation that combines Fully Convolutional Networks (FCNs) with Fully Convolutional Residual Networks (FC-ResNets). We propose and examine a design that takes particular advantage of recent advances in the understanding of both Convolutional Neural Networks as well as ResNets. Our approach focuses upon the importance of a trainable pre-processing when using FC-ResNets and we show that a low-capacity FCN model can serve as a pre-processor to normalize medical input data. In our image segmentation pipeline, we use FCNs to obtain normalized images, which are then iteratively refined by means of a FC-ResNet to generate a segmentation prediction. As in other fully convolutional approaches, our pipeline can be used off-the-shelf on different image modalities. We show that using this pipeline, we exhibit state-of-the-art performance on the challenging Electron Microscopy benchmark, when compared to other 2D methods. We improve segmentation results on CT images of liver lesions, when contrasting with standard FCN methods. Moreover, when applying our 2D pipeline on a challenging 3D MRI prostate segmentation challenge we reach results that are competitive even when compared to 3D methods. The obtained results illustrate the strong potential and versatility of the pipeline by achieving highly accurate results on multi-modality images from different anatomical regions and organs. Click to Read Paper