Endometrium segmentation on transvaginal ultrasound image using key-point discriminator

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Purpose Transvaginal ultrasound imaging provides useful information for diagnosing endometrial pathologies and reproductive health. Endometrium segmentation in transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) images is very challenging due to ambiguous boundaries and heterogeneous textures. In this study, we developed a new segmentation framework which provides robust segmentation against ambiguous boundaries and heterogeneous textures of TVUS images. Methods To achieve endometrium segmentation from TVUS images, we propose a new segmentation framework with a discriminator guided by four key points of the endometrium (namely, the endometrium cavity tip, the internal os of the cervix, and the two thickest points between the two basal layers on the anterior and posterior uterine walls). The key points of the endometrium are defined as meaningful points that are related to the characteristics of the endometrial morphology, namely the length and thickness of the endometrium. In the proposed segmentation framework, the key-point discriminator distinguishes a predicted segmentation map from a ground-truth segmentation map according to the key-point maps. Meanwhile, the endometrium segmentation network predicts accurate segmentation results that the key-point discriminator cannot discriminate. In this adversarial way, the key-point information containing endometrial morphology characteristics is effectively incorporated in the segmentation network. The segmentation network can accurately find the segmentation boundary while the key-point discriminator learns the shape distribution of the endometrium. Moreover, the endometrium segmentation can be robust to the heterogeneous texture of the endometrium. We conducted an experiment on a TVUS dataset that contained 3,372 sagittal TVUS images and the corresponding key points. The dataset was collected by three hospitals (Ewha Woman's University School of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, and Yonsei University College of Medicine) with the approval of the three hospitals' Institutional Review Board. For verification, fivefold cross-validation was performed. Result The proposed key-point discriminator improved the performance of the endometrium segmentation, achieving 82.67 % for the Dice coefficient and 70.46% for the Jaccard coefficient. In comparison, on the TVUS images UNet, showed 58.69 % for the Dice coefficient and 41.59 % for the Jaccard coefficient. The qualitative performance of the endometrium segmentation was also improved over the conventional deep learning segmentation networks. Our experimental results indicated robust segmentation by the proposed method on TVUS images with heterogeneous texture and unclear boundary. In addition, the effect of the key-point discriminator was verified by an ablation study. Conclusion We proposed a key-point discriminator to train a segmentation network for robust segmentation of the endometrium with TVUS images. By utilizing the key-point information, the proposed method showed more reliable and accurate segmentation performance and outperformed the conventional segmentation networks both in qualitative and quantitative comparisons.
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MEDICAL PHYSICS, v.46, no.9, pp.3974 - 3984

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EE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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