Reliable Lung Segmentation Methodology by Including Juxtapleural Nodules
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In a lung nodule detection task, parenchyma segmentation is crucial to obtain the region of interest containing all the nodules. Thus, the challenge is to devise a methodology that includes all the lung nodules, particularly those close to the walls, as the juxtapleural nodules. In this paper, different region growing approaches are proposed for the automatic segmentation of the lung parenchyma. The methodology is organized in five different steps: first, the image intensity is corrected to improve the contrast of the lungs. With that, the fat area is obtained, automatically deriving the interior of the lung region. Then, the traquea is extracted by a 3D region growing, being subtracted from the lung region results. The next step is the division of the two lungs to guarantee that both are separated. And finally, the lung contours are refined to provide appropriate final results.
The methodology was tested in 50 images taken from the LIDC image database, with a large variability and, specially, including different types of lung nodules. In particular, this dataset contains 158 nodules, from which 40 are juxtapleural nodules. Experimental results demonstrate that the method provides accurate lung regions, specially including the centers of 36 of the juxtapleural nodules. For the other 4, although the centers are not included, parts of their areas are retained in the segmentation, which is useful for lung nodule detection.
KeywordsComputer-aided diagnosis Thoracic CT imaging Lung parenchyma Region growing Segmentation
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