A two-stage approach for fully automatic segmentation of venous vascular structures in liver CT images

Jens N. Kaftan, Hüseyin Tek, Til Aach, Josien P. W. Pluim, Benoit M. Dawant
2009 Medical Imaging 2009: Image Processing  
The segmentation of the hepatic vascular tree in computed tomography (CT) images is important for many applications such as surgical planning of oncological resections and living liver donations. In surgical planning, vessel segmentation is often used as basis to support the surgeon in the decision about the location of the cut to be performed and the extent of the liver to be removed, respectively. We present a novel approach to hepatic vessel segmentation that can be divided into two stages.
more » ... irst, we detect and delineate the core vessel components efficiently with a high specificity. Second, smaller vessel branches are segmented by a robust vessel tracking technique based on a medialness filter response, which starts from the terminal points of the previously segmented vessels. Specifically, in the first phase major vessels are segmented using the globally optimal graphcuts algorithm in combination with foreground and background seed detection, while the computationally more demanding tracking approach needs to be applied only locally in areas of smaller vessels within the second stage. The method has been evaluated on contrast-enhanced liver CT scans from clinical routine showing promising results. In addition to the fully-automatic instance of this method, the vessel tracking technique can also be used to easily add missing branches/sub-trees to an already existing segmentation result by adding single seed-points.
doi:10.1117/12.812407 dblp:conf/miip/KaftanTA09 fatcat:ajc5epa6yvaozciybfoxuinfvu