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In International journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery

PURPOSE : Fetoscopic laser photocoagulation is a minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). By using a lens/fibre-optic scope, inserted into the amniotic cavity, the abnormal placental vascular anastomoses are identified and ablated to regulate blood flow to both fetuses. Limited field-of-view, occlusions due to fetus presence and low visibility make it difficult to identify all vascular anastomoses. Automatic computer-assisted techniques may provide better understanding of the anatomical structure during surgery for risk-free laser photocoagulation and may facilitate in improving mosaics from fetoscopic videos.

METHODS : We propose FetNet, a combined convolutional neural network (CNN) and long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network architecture for the spatio-temporal identification of fetoscopic events. We adapt an existing CNN architecture for spatial feature extraction and integrated it with the LSTM network for end-to-end spatio-temporal inference. We introduce differential learning rates during the model training to effectively utilising the pre-trained CNN weights. This may support computer-assisted interventions (CAI) during fetoscopic laser photocoagulation.

RESULTS : We perform quantitative evaluation of our method using 7 in vivo fetoscopic videos captured from different human TTTS cases. The total duration of these videos was 5551 s (138,780 frames). To test the robustness of the proposed approach, we perform 7-fold cross-validation where each video is treated as a hold-out or test set and training is performed using the remaining videos.

CONCLUSION : FetNet achieved superior performance compared to the existing CNN-based methods and provided improved inference because of the spatio-temporal information modelling. Online testing of FetNet, using a Tesla V100-DGXS-32GB GPU, achieved a frame rate of 114 fps. These results show that our method could potentially provide a real-time solution for CAI and automating occlusion and photocoagulation identification during fetoscopic procedures.

Bano Sophia, Vasconcelos Francisco, Vander Poorten Emmanuel, Vercauteren Tom, Ourselin Sebastien, Deprest Jan, Stoyanov Danail


Computer assisted interventions (CAI), Deep learning, Fetoscopy, Surgical vision, Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), Video segmentation