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Automatic segmentation of ultrasound images using morphological operators

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3 Author(s)
J. G. Thomas ; Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN, USA ; R. A. Peters ; P. Jeanty

A method for the automatic measurement of femur length in fetal ultrasound images is presented. Fetal femur length measurements are used to estimate gestational age by comparing the measurement to a typical growth chart. Using a real-time ultrasound system, sonographers currently indicate the femur endpoints on the ultrasound display station with a mouse-like device. The measurements are subjective, and have been proven to be inconsistent. The automatic approach described exploits prior knowledge of the general range of femoral size and shape by using morphological operators, which process images based on shape characteristics. Morphological operators are used first to remove the background (noise) from the image, next to refine the shape of the femur and remove spurious artifacts, and finally to produce a single pixel-wide skeleton of the femur. The skeleton endpoints are assumed to be the femur endpoints. The length of the femur is calculated as the distance between those endpoints. A comparison of the measurements obtained with the manual and with the automated techniques is included

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 2 )