The segmentation of anatomical structures in Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) is a pre-operative task useful in image guided surgery. Even though very robust and precise methods have been developed to help achieving a reliable segmentation (level sets, active contours, etc), it remains very time consuming both in terms of manual interactions and in terms of computation time.
The goal of this study is to present a fast method to find coarse anatomical structures in CTA with few parameters, based on hierarchical clustering. The algorithm is organized as follows: first, a fast non-parametric histogram clustering method is proposed to compute a piecewise constant mask. A second step then indexes all the space-connected regions in the piecewise constant mask. Finally, a hierarchical clustering is achieved to build a graph representing the connections between the various regions in the piecewise constant mask.
This step builds up a structural knowledge about the image. Several interactive features for segmentation are presented, for instance association or disassociation of anatomical structures. A comparison with the Mean-Shift algorithm is presented.