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In BMC medical informatics and decision making ; h5-index 38.0

BACKGROUND : The automatic segmentation of kidneys in medical images is not a trivial task when the subjects undergoing the medical examination are affected by Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD). Several works dealing with the segmentation of Computed Tomography images from pathological subjects were proposed, showing high invasiveness of the examination or requiring interaction by the user for performing the segmentation of the images. In this work, we propose a fully-automated approach for the segmentation of Magnetic Resonance images, both reducing the invasiveness of the acquisition device and not requiring any interaction by the users for the segmentation of the images.

METHODS : Two different approaches are proposed based on Deep Learning architectures using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) for the semantic segmentation of images, without needing to extract any hand-crafted features. In details, the first approach performs the automatic segmentation of images without any procedure for pre-processing the input. Conversely, the second approach performs a two-steps classification strategy: a first CNN automatically detects Regions Of Interest (ROIs); a subsequent classifier performs the semantic segmentation on the ROIs previously extracted.

RESULTS : Results show that even though the detection of ROIs shows an overall high number of false positives, the subsequent semantic segmentation on the extracted ROIs allows achieving high performance in terms of mean Accuracy. However, the segmentation of the entire images input to the network remains the most accurate and reliable approach showing better performance than the previous approach.

CONCLUSION : The obtained results show that both the investigated approaches are reliable for the semantic segmentation of polycystic kidneys since both the strategies reach an Accuracy higher than 85%. Also, both the investigated methodologies show performances comparable and consistent with other approaches found in literature working on images from different sources, reducing both the invasiveness of the analyses and the interaction needed by the users for performing the segmentation task.

Bevilacqua Vitoantonio, Brunetti Antonio, Cascarano Giacomo Donato, Guerriero Andrea, Pesce Francesco, Moschetta Marco, Gesualdo Loreto


ADPKD, Convolutional neural network, Deep learning, Magnetic resonance, R-CNN, Semantic segmentation