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In European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society

PURPOSE : To develop and validate a deep learning (DL) model for detecting lumbar degenerative disease in both sagittal and axial views of T2-weighted MRI and evaluate its generalized performance in detecting cervical degenerative disease.

METHODS : T2-weighted MRI scans of 804 patients with symptoms of lumbar degenerative disease were retrospectively collected from three hospitals. The training dataset (n = 456) and internal validation dataset (n = 134) were randomly selected from the center I. Two external validation datasets comprising 100 and 114 patients were from center II and center III, respectively. A DL model based on 3D ResNet18 and transformer architecture was proposed to detect lumbar degenerative disease. In addition, a cervical MR image dataset comprising 200 patients from an independent hospital was used to evaluate the generalized performance of the DL model. The diagnostic performance was assessed by the free-response receiver operating characteristic (fROC) curve and precision-recall (PR) curve. Precision, recall, and F1-score were used to measure the DL model.

RESULTS : A total of 2497 three-dimension retrogression annotations were labeled for training (n = 1157) and multicenter validation (n = 1340). The DL model showed excellent detection efficiency in the internal validation dataset, with F1-score achieving 0.971 and 0.903 on the sagittal and axial MR images, respectively. Good performance was also observed in the external validation dataset I (F1-score, 0.768 on sagittal MR images and 0.837 on axial MR images) and external validation dataset II (F1-score, 0.787 on sagittal MR images and 0.770 on axial MR images). Furthermore, the robustness of the DL model was demonstrated via transfer learning and generalized performance evaluation on the external cervical dataset, with the F1-score yielding 0.931 and 0.919 on the sagittal and axial MR images, respectively.

CONCLUSION : The proposed DL model can automatically detect lumbar and cervical degenerative disease on T2-weighted MR images with good performance, robustness, and feasibility in clinical practice.

Yi Wei, Zhao Jingwei, Tang Wen, Yin Hongkun, Yu Lifeng, Wang Yaohui, Tian Wei


Deep learning, Degenerative disc disease, Magnet resonance imaging, Spine