KEYWORDS: Image segmentation, Liver, Computed tomography, Signal to noise ratio, 3D image processing, Chromium, Medical imaging, Image processing algorithms and systems, Stochastic processes, Interference (communication)
Liver segmentation continues to remain a major challenge, largely due to its intense complexity with surrounding anatomical structures (stomach, kidney, and heart), high noise level and lack of contrast in pathological computed tomography (CT) data. We present an approach to reconstructing the liver surface in low contrast CT. The main contributions are: (1) a stochastic resonance-based methodology in discrete cosine transform domain is developed to enhance the contrast of pathological liver images, (2) a new formulation is proposed to prevent the object boundary, resulting from the cellular automata method, from leaking into the surrounding areas of similar intensity, and (3) a level-set method is suggested to generate intermediate segmentation contours from two segmented slices distantly located in a subject sequence. We have tested the algorithm on real datasets obtained from two sources, Hamad General Hospital and medical image computing and computer-assisted interventions grand challenge workshop. Various parameters in the algorithm, such as w, Δt, z, α, μ, α1, and α2, play imperative roles, thus their values are precisely selected. Both qualitative and quantitative evaluation performed on liver data show promising segmentation accuracy when compared with ground truth data reflecting the potential of the proposed method.