Automatic 3D liver location and segmentation via convolutional neural network and graph cut

Original Article



Segmentation of the liver from abdominal computed tomography (CT) images is an essential step in some computer-assisted clinical interventions, such as surgery planning for living donor liver transplant, radiotherapy and volume measurement. In this work, we develop a deep learning algorithm with graph cut refinement to automatically segment the liver in CT scans.


The proposed method consists of two main steps: (i) simultaneously liver detection and probabilistic segmentation using 3D convolutional neural network; (ii) accuracy refinement of the initial segmentation with graph cut and the previously learned probability map.


The proposed approach was validated on forty CT volumes taken from two public databases MICCAI-Sliver07 and 3Dircadb1. For the MICCAI-Sliver07 test dataset, the calculated mean ratios of volumetric overlap error (VOE), relative volume difference (RVD), average symmetric surface distance (ASD), root-mean-square symmetric surface distance (RMSD) and maximum symmetric surface distance (MSD) are 5.9, 2.7 %, 0.91, 1.88 and 18.94 mm, respectively. For the 3Dircadb1 dataset, the calculated mean ratios of VOE, RVD, ASD, RMSD and MSD are 9.36, 0.97 %, 1.89, 4.15 and 33.14 mm, respectively.


The proposed method is fully automatic without any user interaction. Quantitative results reveal that the proposed approach is efficient and accurate for hepatic volume estimation in a clinical setup. The high correlation between the automatic and manual references shows that the proposed method can be good enough to replace the time-consuming and nonreproducible manual segmentation method.


Liver segmentation 3D convolution neural network Graph cut CT images 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Jing Yuan and Dr. Jialin Peng for their valuable discussions and useful suggestions. This work was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11271323, 91330105, 11401231) and the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: LZ13A010002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© CARS 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mathematical SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyFirst Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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