Medical Image Segmentation Using Level Set Method with a New Hybrid Speed Function Based on Boundary and Region Segmentation

Jonghyun PARK  Soonyoung PARK  Wanhyun CHO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E95-D   No.8   pp.2133-2141
Publication Date: 2012/08/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.E95.D.2133
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Biological Engineering
image segmentation,  geometric deformable model,  level set method,  gradient vector flow,  

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This paper presents a new hybrid speed function needed to perform image segmentation within the level-set framework. The proposed speed function uses both the boundary and region information of objects to achieve robust and accurate segmentation results. This speed function provides a general form that incorporates the robust alignment term as a part of the driving force for the proper edge direction of an active contour, an active region term derived from the region partition scheme, and the smoothing term for regularization. First, we use an external force for active contours as the Gradient Vector Flow field. This is computed as the diffusion of gradient vectors of a gray level edge map derived from an image. Second, we partition the image domain by progressively fitting statistical models to the intensity of each region. Here we adopt two Gaussian distributions to model the intensity distribution of the inside and outside of the evolving curve partitioning the image domain. Third, we use the active contour model that has the computation of geodesics or minimal distance curves, which allows stable boundary detection when the model's gradients suffer from large variations including gaps or noise. Finally, we test the accuracy and robustness of the proposed method for various medical images. Experimental results show that our method can properly segment low contrast, complex images.