METHODS: The algorithm uses cascade of filters to remove low intensity pixels, smooth the image and detect bony edges. By applying first differentiation, candidate bony areas are classified. The average intensity under each area has a correlation with the possibility of a shadow, and areas with strong shadow are kept for bone segmentation. The segmented images are used to reconstruct a 3-D volume to represent the whole spinal structure around the transverse processes. RESULTS: A comparison between the manual ground truth segmentation and the automatic algorithm in 50 images showed 0.17 mm average difference. The time to process all 1,938 images was about 37 Sec. (0.0191 Sec. / Image), including reading the original sequence file.
CONCLUSION: Initial experiments showed the algorithm to be sufficiently accurate and fast for segmentation transverse processes in ultrasound for spinal curvature measurement. An extensive evaluation of the method is currently underway on images from a larger patient cohort and using multiple observers in producing ground truth segmentation.