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In Medical physics ; h5-index 59.0

PURPOSE : Several negative factors, such as juxta-pleural nodules, pulmonary vessels, and image noise, make accurately segmenting lungs from computed tomography (CT) images a complex task. We propose a novel hybrid automated algorithm in the paper based on random forest to deal with the issues. Our method aims to eliminate the effect of the factors and generate accurate segmentation of lungs from CT images.

METHODS : Our algorithm consists of five main steps: image preprocessing, lung region extraction, trachea elimination, lung separation, and contour correction. A lung CT image is first preprocessed with a novel normal vector correlation-based image denoising approach and decomposed into a group of multiscale subimages. A modified superpixel segmentation method is then performed on the first-level subimage to generate a set of superpixels, and a random forest classifier is employed to segment the lungs by classifying the superpixels of each subimage-based on the features extracted from them. The initial lung segmentation result is further refined through trachea elimination using an iterative thresholding approach, lung separation based on context information of image sequence, and contour correction with a corner detection technique.

RESULTS : Our algorithm is tested on a set of CT images affected with interstitial lung diseases, and experiments show that the algorithm achieves high accuracy on lung segmentation with 0.9638 Jaccard's index and 0.9867 Dice similarity coefficient, compared with ground truths. Additionally, our algorithm achieves an average 7.7% better Dice similarity coefficient than compared conventional lung segmentation methods and 1% better than Deep Learning.

CONCLUSIONS : Our algorithm can segment lungs from lung CT images with good performance in a fully automatic fashion, and it is of great assistance for lung disease detection in the computer-aided detection system.

Liu Caixia, Zhao Ruibin, Pang Mingyong

2019-Dec-01

contour correction, lung segmentation, lung separation, random forest