21 March 2016 Automatic segmentation of mammogram and tomosynthesis images
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Abstract
Breast cancer is a one of the most common forms of cancer in terms of new cases and deaths both in the United States and worldwide. However, the survival rate with breast cancer is high if it is detected and treated before it spreads to other parts of the body. The most common screening methods for breast cancer are mammography and digital tomosynthesis, which involve acquiring X-ray images of the breasts that are interpreted by radiologists. The work described in this paper is aimed at optimizing the presentation of mammography and tomosynthesis images to the radiologist, thereby improving the early detection rate of breast cancer and the resulting patient outcomes. Breast cancer tissue has greater density than normal breast tissue, and appears as dense white image regions that are asymmetrical between the breasts. These irregularities are easily seen if the breast images are aligned and viewed side-by-side. However, since the breasts are imaged separately during mammography, the images may be poorly centered and aligned relative to each other, and may not properly focus on the tissue area. Similarly, although a full three dimensional reconstruction can be created from digital tomosynthesis images, the same centering and alignment issues can occur for digital tomosynthesis. Thus, a preprocessing algorithm that aligns the breasts for easy side-by-side comparison has the potential to greatly increase the speed and accuracy of mammogram reading. Likewise, the same preprocessing can improve the results of automatic tissue classification algorithms for mammography. In this paper, we present an automated segmentation algorithm for mammogram and tomosynthesis images that aims to improve the speed and accuracy of breast cancer screening by mitigating the above mentioned problems. Our algorithm uses information in the DICOM header to facilitate preprocessing, and incorporates anatomical region segmentation and contour analysis, along with a hidden Markov model (HMM) for processing the multi-frame tomosynthesis images. The output of the algorithm is a new set of images that have been processed to show only the diagnostically relevant region and align the breasts so that they can be easily compared side-by-side. Our method has been tested on approximately 750 images, including various examples of mammogram, tomosynthesis, and scanned images, and has correctly segmented the diagnostically relevant image region in 97% of cases.
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Dusty Sargent, Dusty Sargent, Sun Young Park, Sun Young Park, } "Automatic segmentation of mammogram and tomosynthesis images", Proc. SPIE 9784, Medical Imaging 2016: Image Processing, 978437 (21 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2217123; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2217123
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