OtoMatch: Content-based eardrum image retrieval using deep learning
Acute infections of the middle ear are the most commonly treated childhood diseases. Because complications affect children's language learning and cognitive processes, it is essential to diagnose these diseases in a timely and accurate manner. The prevailing literature suggests that it is difficult to accurately diagnose these infections, even for experienced ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians. Advanced care practitioners (e.g., nurse practitioners, physician assistants) serve as first-line
... serve as first-line providers in many primary care settings and may benefit from additional guidance to appropriately determine the diagnosis and treatment of ear diseases. For this purpose, we designed a content-based image retrieval (CBIR) system (called OtoMatch) for normal, middle ear effusion, and tympanostomy tube conditions, operating on eardrum images captured with a digital otoscope. We present a method that enables the conversion of any convolutional neural network (trained for classification) into an image retrieval model. As a proof of concept, we converted a pre-trained deep learning model into an image retrieval system. We accomplished this by changing the fully connected layers into lookup tables. A database of 454 labeled eardrum images (179 normal, 179 effusion, and 96 tube cases) was used to train and test the system. On a 10-fold cross validation, the proposed method resulted in an average accuracy of 80.58% (SD 5.37%), and maximum F1 score of 0.90 while retrieving the most similar image from the database. These are promising results for the first study to demonstrate the feasibility of developing a CBIR system for eardrum images using the newly proposed methodology.