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20 March 2014 2D segmentation of intervertebral discs and its degree of degeneration from T2-weighted magnetic resonance images
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Low back pain (LBP) is a disorder suffered by a large population around the world. A key factor causing this illness is Intervertebral Disc (IVD) degeneration, whose early diagnosis could help in preventing this widespread condition. Clinicians base their diagnosis on visual inspection of 2D slices of Magnetic Resonance (MR) images, which is subject to large interobserver variability. In this work, an automatic classification method is presented, which provides the Pfirrmann degree of degeneration from a mid-sagittal MR slice. The proposed method utilizes Active Contour Models, with a new geometrical energy, to achieve an initial segmentation, which is further improved using fuzzy C-means. Then, IVDs are classified according to their degree of degeneration. This classification is attained by employing Adaboost on five specific features: the mean and the variance of the probability map of the nucleus using two different approaches and the eccentricity of the fitting ellipse to the contour of the IVD. The classification method was evaluated using a cohort of 150 intervertebral discs assessed by three experts, resulting in a mean specificity (93%) and sensitivity (83%) similar to the one provided by every expert with respect to the most voted value. The segmentation accuracy was evaluated using the Dice Similarity Index (DSI) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of the point-to-contour distance. The mean DSI ± 2 standard deviation was 91:7% ±5:6%, the mean RMSE was 0:82mm and the 95 percentile was 1:36mm. These results were found accurate when compared to the state-of-the-art.
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Isaac Castro-Mateos, José Maria Pozo, Aron Lazary, and Alejandro F. Frangi "2D segmentation of intervertebral discs and its degree of degeneration from T2-weighted magnetic resonance images", Proc. SPIE 9035, Medical Imaging 2014: Computer-Aided Diagnosis, 903517 (20 March 2014);

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