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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 186-192

Evaluation of different atlas selection strategies for multi-atlas segmentation of low-dose computed tomographic images of whole-body positron emission tomography/computed tomography

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, Liaoning, China
2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Bin Zhang
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, No. 2 Linggong Road, Dalian, Liaoning 116024
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/digm.digm_36_17

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Background and Objectives: The increasing clinical use of torso positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) demands automated segmentation of torso organs from PET/CT images. We attempt to use the multi-atlas segmentation approach for trunk organ segmentation from the low-dose CT images of PET/CT. Since atlas selection is a prerequisite step for multi-atlas segmentation, this study focuses on evaluating the performance of different atlas selection strategies for torso organ segmentation. Methods: We evaluated two criteria for atlas selection, including image similarity and body mass index (BMI) difference between the atlas and the target image. Based on the two criteria, ten atlases are selected and registered to the target image, followed by the label fusion step to achieve final segmentation. Results: The BMI criterion yields comparable segmentation accuracy to the image similarity criterion but with much less computation time. All the evaluated atlas selection methods have Dice >0.9 for the lungs, heart, and liver and Dice < 0.85 for the skeleton, spleen, and kidneys. The inter-method differences are not significant for the high-contrast and big-sized organs such as skeleton, lungs, heart, and liver. For the low-contrast and smaller-sized organs such as spleen and kidneys, none of the atlas selection methods significantly outperforms random atlas selection. Conclusions: BMI is an effective and efficient atlas selection criterion for low-dose torso CT images. The spleen and kidneys are difficult to get good segmentation, no matter which atlas selection method is used. It is important to develop more effective atlas selection methods for the spleen and kidneys.

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