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Robust anisotropic Gaussian fitting for volumetric characterization of Pulmonary nodules in multislice CT

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3 Author(s)
Okada, K. ; Integrated Data Syst. Dept., Siemens Corp. Res., Princeton, NJ, USA ; Comaniciu, D. ; Krishnan, A.

This paper proposes a robust statistical estimation and verification framework for characterizing the ellipsoidal (anisotropic) geometrical structure of pulmonary nodules in the Multislice X-ray computed tomography (CT) images. Given a marker indicating a rough location of a target, the proposed solution estimates the target's center location, ellipsoidal boundary approximation, volume, maximum/average diameters, and isotropy by robustly and efficiently fitting an anisotropic Gaussian intensity model. We propose a novel multiscale joint segmentation and model fitting solution which extends the robust mean shift-based analysis to the linear scale-space theory. The design is motivated for enhancing the robustness against margin-truncation induced by neighboring structures, data with large deviations from the chosen model, and marker location variability. A chi-square-based statistical verification and analytical volumetric measurement solutions are also proposed to complement this estimation framework. Experiments with synthetic one-dimensional and two-dimensional data clearly demonstrate the advantage of our solution in comparison with the γ-normalized Laplacian approach (Linderberg, 1998) and the standard sample estimation approach (Matei, 2001). A quasi-real-time three-dimensional nodule characterization system is developed using this framework and validated with two clinical data sets of thin-section chest CT images. Our experiments with 1310 nodules resulted in 1) robustness against intraoperator and interoperator variability due to varying marker locations, 2) 81% correct estimation rate, 3) 3% false acceptance and 5% false rejection rates, and 4) correct characterization of clinically significant nonsolid ground-glass opacity nodules. This system processes each 33-voxel volume-of-interest by an average of 2 s with a 2.4-GHz Intel CPU. Our solution is generic and can be applied for the analysis of blob-like structures in various other applications.

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Medical Imaging, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 3 )