In this paper, we focus on three problems in deep learning based medical image segmentation. Firstly, U-net, as a popular model for medical image segmentation, is difficult to train when convolutional layers increase even though a deeper network usually has a better generalization ability because of more learnable parameters. Secondly, the exponential ReLU (ELU), as an alternative of ReLU, is not much different from ReLU when the network of interest gets deep. Thirdly, the Dice loss, as one of the pervasive loss functions for medical image segmentation, is not effective when the prediction is close to ground truth and will cause oscillation during training. To address the aforementioned three problems, we propose and validate a deeper network that can fit medical image datasets that are usually small in the sample size. Meanwhile, we propose a new loss function to accelerate the learning process and a combination of different activation functions to improve the network performance. Our experimental results suggest that our network is comparable or superior to state-of-the-art methods.
Deep neural network models used for medical image segmentation are large because they are trained with high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) images. Graphics processing units (GPUs) are widely used to accelerate the trainings. However, the memory on a GPU is not large enough to train the models. A popular approach to tackling this problem is patch-based method, which divides a large image into small patches and trains the models with these small patches. However, this method would degrade the segmentation quality if a target object spans multiple patches. In this paper, we propose a novel approach for 3D medical image segmentation that utilizes the data-swapping, which swaps out intermediate data from GPU memory to CPU memory to enlarge the effective GPU memory size, for training high-resolution 3D medical images without patching. We carefully tuned parameters in the data-swapping method to obtain the best training performance for 3D U-Net, a widely used deep neural network model for medical image segmentation. We applied our tuning to train 3D U-Net with full-size images of 192 x 192 x 192 voxels in brain tumor dataset. As a result, communication overhead, which is the most important issue, was reduced by 17.1%. Compared with the patch-based method for patches of 128 x 128 x 128 voxels, our training for full-size images achieved improvement on the mean Dice score by 4.48% and 5.32 % for detecting whole tumor sub-region and tumor core sub-region, respectively. The total training time was reduced from 164 hours to 47 hours, resulting in 3.53 times of acceleration.
3D image segmentation plays an important role in biomedical image analysis. Many 2D and 3D deep learning models have achieved state-of-the-art segmentation performance on 3D biomedical image datasets. Yet, 2D and 3D models have their own strengths and weaknesses, and by unifying them together, one may be able to achieve more accurate results. In this paper, we propose a new ensemble learning framework for 3D biomedical image segmentation that combines the merits of 2D and 3D models. First, we develop a fully convolutional network based meta-learner to learn how to improve the results from 2D and 3D models (base-learners). Then, to minimize over-fitting for our sophisticated meta-learner, we devise a new training method that uses the results of the base-learners as multiple versions of "ground truths". Furthermore, since our new meta-learner training scheme does not depend on manual annotation, it can utilize abundant unlabeled 3D image data to further improve the model. Extensive experiments on two public datasets (the HVSMR 2016 Challenge dataset and the mouse piriform cortex dataset) show that our approach is effective under fully-supervised, semi-supervised, and transductive settings, and attains superior performance over state-of-the-art image segmentation methods.
Deep learning has shown promising results in medical image analysis, however, the lack of very large annotated datasets confines its full potential. Although transfer learning with ImageNet pre-trained classification models can alleviate the problem, constrained image sizes and model complexities can lead to unnecessary increase in computational cost and decrease in performance. As many common morphological features are usually shared by different classification tasks of an organ, it is greatly beneficial if we can extract such features to improve classification with limited samples. Therefore, inspired by the idea of curriculum learning, we propose a strategy for building medical image classifiers using features from segmentation networks. By using a segmentation network pre-trained on similar data as the classification task, the machine can first learn the simpler shape and structural concepts before tackling the actual classification problem which usually involves more complicated concepts. Using our proposed framework on a 3D three-class brain tumor type classification problem, we achieved 82% accuracy on 191 testing samples with 91 training samples. When applying to a 2D nine-class cardiac semantic level classification problem, we achieved 86% accuracy on 263 testing samples with 108 training samples. Comparisons with ImageNet pre-trained classifiers and classifiers trained from scratch are presented.
Deep neural network architectures have traditionally been designed and explored with human expertise in a long-lasting trial-and-error process. This process requires huge amount of time, expertise, and resources. To address this tedious problem, we propose a novel algorithm to optimally find hyperparameters of a deep network architecture automatically. We specifically focus on designing neural architectures for medical image segmentation task. Our proposed method is based on a policy gradient reinforcement learning for which the reward function is assigned a segmentation evaluation utility (i.e., dice index). We show the efficacy of the proposed method with its low computational cost in comparison with the state-of-the-art medical image segmentation networks. We also present a new architecture design, a densely connected encoder-decoder CNN, as a strong baseline architecture to apply the proposed hyperparameter search algorithm. We apply the proposed algorithm to each layer of the baseline architectures. As an application, we train the proposed system on cine cardiac MR images from Automated Cardiac Diagnosis Challenge (ACDC) MICCAI 2017. Starting from a baseline segmentation architecture, the resulting network architecture obtains the state-of-the-art results in accuracy without performing any trial-and-error based architecture design approaches or close supervision of the hyperparameters changes.
Deep learning (DL) based semantic segmentation methods have been providing state-of-the-art performance in the last few years. More specifically, these techniques have been successfully applied to medical image classification, segmentation, and detection tasks. One deep learning technique, U-Net, has become one of the most popular for these applications. In this paper, we propose a Recurrent Convolutional Neural Network (RCNN) based on U-Net as well as a Recurrent Residual Convolutional Neural Network (RRCNN) based on U-Net models, which are named RU-Net and R2U-Net respectively. The proposed models utilize the power of U-Net, Residual Network, as well as RCNN. There are several advantages of these proposed architectures for segmentation tasks. First, a residual unit helps when training deep architecture. Second, feature accumulation with recurrent residual convolutional layers ensures better feature representation for segmentation tasks. Third, it allows us to design better U-Net architecture with same number of network parameters with better performance for medical image segmentation. The proposed models are tested on three benchmark datasets such as blood vessel segmentation in retina images, skin cancer segmentation, and lung lesion segmentation. The experimental results show superior performance on segmentation tasks compared to equivalent models including U-Net and residual U-Net (ResU-Net).
One of the most common tasks in medical imaging is semantic segmentation. Achieving this segmentation automatically has been an active area of research, but the task has been proven very challenging due to the large variation of anatomy across different patients. However, recent advances in deep learning have made it possible to significantly improve the performance of image recognition and semantic segmentation methods in the field of computer vision. Due to the data driven approaches of hierarchical feature learning in deep learning frameworks, these advances can be translated to medical images without much difficulty. Several variations of deep convolutional neural networks have been successfully applied to medical images. Especially fully convolutional architectures have been proven efficient for segmentation of 3D medical images. In this article, we describe how to build a 3D fully convolutional network (FCN) that can process 3D images in order to produce automatic semantic segmentations. The model is trained and evaluated on a clinical computed tomography (CT) dataset and shows state-of-the-art performance in multi-organ segmentation.
Recent advances in 3D fully convolutional networks (FCN) have made it feasible to produce dense voxel-wise predictions of volumetric images. In this work, we show that a multi-class 3D FCN trained on manually labeled CT scans of several anatomical structures (ranging from the large organs to thin vessels) can achieve competitive segmentation results, while avoiding the need for handcrafting features or training class-specific models. To this end, we propose a two-stage, coarse-to-fine approach that will first use a 3D FCN to roughly define a candidate region, which will then be used as input to a second 3D FCN. This reduces the number of voxels the second FCN has to classify to ~10% and allows it to focus on more detailed segmentation of the organs and vessels. We utilize training and validation sets consisting of 331 clinical CT images and test our models on a completely unseen data collection acquired at a different hospital that includes 150 CT scans, targeting three anatomical organs (liver, spleen, and pancreas). In challenging organs such as the pancreas, our cascaded approach improves the mean Dice score from 68.5 to 82.2%, achieving the highest reported average score on this dataset. We compare with a 2D FCN method on a separate dataset of 240 CT scans with 18 classes and achieve a significantly higher performance in small organs and vessels. Furthermore, we explore fine-tuning our models to different datasets. Our experiments illustrate the promise and robustness of current 3D FCN based semantic segmentation of medical images, achieving state-of-the-art results. Our code and trained models are available for download: https://github.com/holgerroth/3Dunet_abdomen_cascade.
This work presents a region-growing image segmentation approach based on superpixel decomposition. From an initial contour-constrained over-segmentation of the input image, the image segmentation is achieved by iteratively merging similar superpixels into regions. This approach raises two key issues: (1) how to compute the similarity between superpixels in order to perform accurate merging and (2) in which order those superpixels must be merged together. In this perspective, we firstly introduce a robust adaptive multi-scale superpixel similarity in which region comparisons are made both at content and common border level. Secondly, we propose a global merging strategy to efficiently guide the region merging process. Such strategy uses an adpative merging criterion to ensure that best region aggregations are given highest priorities. This allows to reach a final segmentation into consistent regions with strong boundary adherence. We perform experiments on the BSDS500 image dataset to highlight to which extent our method compares favorably against other well-known image segmentation algorithms. The obtained results demonstrate the promising potential of the proposed approach.
With pervasive applications of medical imaging in health-care, biomedical image segmentation plays a central role in quantitative analysis, clinical diagno- sis, and medical intervention. Since manual anno- tation su ers limited reproducibility, arduous e orts, and excessive time, automatic segmentation is desired to process increasingly larger scale histopathological data. Recently, deep neural networks (DNNs), par- ticularly fully convolutional networks (FCNs), have been widely applied to biomedical image segmenta- tion, attaining much improved performance. At the same time, quantization of DNNs has become an ac- tive research topic, which aims to represent weights with less memory (precision) to considerably reduce memory and computation requirements of DNNs while maintaining acceptable accuracy. In this paper, we apply quantization techniques to FCNs for accurate biomedical image segmentation. Unlike existing litera- ture on quantization which primarily targets memory and computation complexity reduction, we apply quan- tization as a method to reduce over tting in FCNs for better accuracy. Speci cally, we focus on a state-of- the-art segmentation framework, suggestive annotation , which judiciously extracts representative annota- tion samples from the original training dataset, obtain- ing an e ective small-sized balanced training dataset. We develop two new quantization processes for this framework: (1) suggestive annotation with quantiza- tion for highly representative training samples, and (2) network training with quantization for high accuracy. Extensive experiments on the MICCAI Gland dataset show that both quantization processes can improve the segmentation performance, and our proposed method exceeds the current state-of-the-art performance by up to 1%. In addition, our method has a reduction of up to 6.4x on memory usage.