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Segmentation in Ultrasonic B-Mode Images of Healthy Carotid Arteries Using Mixtures of Nakagami Distributions and Stochastic Optimization

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5 Author(s)
Destrempes, F. ; Lab. de Biorheologie et d''Ultrasonographie Medicale (LBUM), Centre de Rech. du Centre Hospitalier de I''Univ. de Montreal (CRCHUM), Montreal, QC ; Meunier, J. ; Giroux, M.F. ; Soulez, G.
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The goal of this work is to perform a segmentation of the intimamedia thickness (IMT) of carotid arteries in view of computing various dynamical properties of that tissue, such as the elasticity distribution (elastogram). The echogenicity of a region of interest comprising the intima-media layers, the lumen, and the adventitia in an ultrasonic B-mode image is modeled by a mixture of three Nakagami distributions. In a first step, we compute the maximum a posteriori estimator of the proposed model, using the expectation maximization (EM) algorithm. We then compute the optimal segmentation based on the estimated distributions as well as a statistical prior for disease-free IMT using a variant of the exploration/selection (ES) algorithm. Convergence of the ES algorithm to the optimal solution is assured asymptotically and is independent of the initial solution. In particular, our method is well suited to a semi-automatic context that requires minimal manual initialization. Tests of the proposed method on 30 sequences of ultrasonic B-mode images of presumably disease-free control subjects are reported. They suggest that the semi-automatic segmentations obtained by the proposed method are within the variability of the manual segmentations of two experts.

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Medical Imaging, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 2 )