Direct Automated Quantitative Measurement of Spine via Cascade Amplifier Regression Network

  • Shumao Pang
  • Stephanie Leung
  • Ilanit Ben Nachum
  • Qianjin Feng
  • Shuo Li
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11071)


Automated quantitative measurement of the spine (i.e., multiple indices estimation of heights, widths, areas, and so on for the vertebral body and disc) is of the utmost importance in clinical spinal disease diagnoses, such as osteoporosis, intervertebral disc degeneration, and lumbar disc herniation, yet still an unprecedented challenge due to the variety of spine structure and the high dimensionality of indices to be estimated. In this paper, we propose a novel cascade amplifier regression network (CARN), which includes the CARN architecture and local shape-constrained manifold regularization (LSCMR) loss function, to achieve accurate direct automated multiple indices estimation. The CARN architecture is composed of a cascade amplifier network (CAN) for expressive feature embedding and a linear regression model for multiple indices estimation. The CAN consists of cascade amplifier units (AUs), which are used for selective feature reuse by stimulating effective feature and suppressing redundant feature during propagating feature map between adjacent layers, thus an expressive feature embedding is obtained. During training, the LSCMR is utilized to alleviate overfitting and generate realistic estimation by learning the multiple indices distribution. Experiments on MR images of 195 subjects show that the proposed CARN achieves impressive performance with mean absolute errors of 1.2496 ± 1.0624 mm, 1.2887 ± 1.0992 mm, and 1.2692 ± 1.0811 mm for estimation of 15 heights of discs, 15 heights of vertebral bodies, and total indices respectively. The proposed method has great potential in clinical spinal disease diagnoses.


Spine Deep learning Manifold regularization Disc height measurement Vertebral body height measurement 



This work was supported by China Scholarship Council (No. 201708440350), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. U1501256), and Science and Technology Project of Guangdong Province (No. 2015B010131011).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Medical Image Processing, School of Biomedical EngineeringSouthern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Medical ImagingWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Digital Imaging Group of LondonLondonCanada

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