29 April 2005 Automatic detection of multi-level acetowhite regions in RGB color images of the uterine cervix
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Abstract
Uterine cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. Colposcopy is a diagnostic method used to detect cancer precursors and cancer of the uterine cervix, whereby a physician (colposcopist) visually inspects the metaplastic epithelium on the cervix for certain distinctly abnormal morphologic features. A contrast agent, a 3-5% acetic acid solution, is used, causing abnormal and metaplastic epithelia to turn white. The colposcopist considers diagnostic features such as the acetowhite, blood vessel structure, and lesion margin to derive a clinical diagnosis. STI Medical Systems is developing a Computer-Aided-Diagnosis (CAD) system for colposcopy -- ColpoCAD, a complex image analysis system that at its core assesses the same visual features as used by colposcopists. The acetowhite feature has been identified as one of the most important individual predictors of lesion severity. Here, we present the details and preliminary results of a multi-level acetowhite region detection algorithm for RGB color images of the cervix, including the detection of the anatomic features: cervix, os and columnar region, which are used for the acetowhite region detection. The RGB images are assumed to be glare free, either obtained by cross-polarized image acquisition or glare removal pre-processing. The basic approach of the algorithm is to extract a feature image from the RGB image that provides a good acetowhite to cervix background ratio, to segment the feature image using novel pixel grouping and multi-stage region-growing algorithms that provide region segmentations with different levels of detail, to extract the acetowhite regions from the region segmentations using a novel region selection algorithm, and then finally to extract the multi-levels from the acetowhite regions using multiple thresholds. The performance of the algorithm is demonstrated using human subject data.
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Holger Lange, "Automatic detection of multi-level acetowhite regions in RGB color images of the uterine cervix", Proc. SPIE 5747, Medical Imaging 2005: Image Processing, (29 April 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.596064; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.596064
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