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In International journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery

PURPOSE : Bone age assessment is not only an important means of assessing maturity of adolescents, but also plays an indispensable role in the fields of orthodontics, kinematics, pediatrics, forensic science, etc. Most studies, however, do not take into account the impact of background noise on the results of the assessment. In order to obtain accurate bone age, this paper presents an automatic assessment method, for bone age based on deep convolutional neural networks.

METHOD : Our method was divided into two phases. In the image segmentation stage, the segmentation network U-Net was used to acquire the mask image which was then compared with the original image to obtain the hand bone portion after removing the background interference. For the classification phase, in order to further improve the evaluation performance, an attention mechanism was added on the basis of Visual Geometry Group Network (VGGNet). Attention mechanisms can help the model invest more resources in important areas of the hand bone.

RESULT : The assessment model was tested on the RSNA2017 Pediatric Bone Age dataset. The results show that our adjusted model outperforms the VGGNet. The mean absolute error can reach 9.997 months, which outperforms other common methods for bone age assessment.

CONCLUSION : We explored the establishment of an automated bone age assessment method based on deep learning. This method can efficiently eliminate the influence of background interference on bone age evaluation, improve the accuracy of bone age evaluation, provide important reference value for bone age determination, and can aid in the prevention of adolescent growth and development diseases.

Gao Yunyuan, Zhu Tao, Xu Xiaohua


Attention mechanism, Bone age assessment, Deep learning, Segmentation