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This paper describes a method for the automated anatomical labeling of the bronchial branch extracted from a three-dimensional (3-D) chest X-ray CT image and its application to a virtual bronchoscopy system (VBS). Automated anatomical labeling is necessary for implementing an advanced computer-aided diagnosis system of 3-D medical images. This method performs the anatomical labeling of the bronchial branch using the knowledge base of the bronchial branch name. The knowledge base holds information on the bronchial branch as a set of rules for its anatomical labeling. A bronchus region is automatically extracted from a given 3-D CT image. A tree structure representing the essential structure of the extracted bronchus is recognized from the bronchus region. Anatomical labeling is performed by comparing this tree structure of the bronchus with the knowledge base. As an application, the authors implemented the function to automatically present the anatomical names of the branches that are shown in the currently rendered image in real time on the VBS. The result showed that the method could segment about 57% of the branches from CT images and extracted a tree structure of about 91% in branches in the segmented bronchus. The anatomical labeling method could assign the correct branch name to about 93% of the branches in the extracted tree structure. Anatomical names were appropriately displayed in the endoscopic view.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2000