Automatic recognition of fine-grained surgical activities, called steps, is a challenging but crucial task for intelligent intra-operative computer assistance. The development of current vision-based activity recognition methods relies heavily on a high volume of manually annotated data. This data is difficult and time-consuming to generate and requires domain-specific knowledge. In this work, we propose to use coarser and easier-to-annotate activity labels, namely phases, as weak supervision to learn step recognition with fewer step annotated videos. We introduce a step-phase dependency loss to exploit the weak supervision signal. We then employ a Single-Stage Temporal Convolutional Network (SS-TCN) with a ResNet-50 backbone, trained in an end-to-end fashion from weakly annotated videos, for temporal activity segmentation and recognition. We extensively evaluate and show the effectiveness of the proposed method on a large video dataset consisting of 40 laparoscopic gastric bypass procedures and the public benchmark CATARACTS containing 50 cataract surgeries.
The field of surgical computer vision has undergone considerable breakthroughs in recent years with the rising popularity of deep neural network-based methods. However, standard fully-supervised approaches for training such models require vast amounts of annotated data, imposing a prohibitively high cost; especially in the clinical domain. Self-Supervised Learning (SSL) methods, which have begun to gain traction in the general computer vision community, represent a potential solution to these annotation costs, allowing to learn useful representations from only unlabeled data. Still, the effectiveness of SSL methods in more complex and impactful domains, such as medicine and surgery, remains limited and unexplored. In this work, we address this critical need by investigating four state-of-the-art SSL methods (MoCo v2, SimCLR, DINO, SwAV) in the context of surgical computer vision. We present an extensive analysis of the performance of these methods on the Cholec80 dataset for two fundamental and popular tasks in surgical context understanding, phase recognition and tool presence detection. We examine their parameterization, then their behavior with respect to training data quantities in semi-supervised settings. Correct transfer of these methods to surgery, as described and conducted in this work, leads to substantial performance gains over generic uses of SSL - up to 7% on phase recognition and 20% on tool presence detection - as well as state-of-the-art semi-supervised phase recognition approaches by up to 14%. The code will be made available at https://github.com/CAMMA-public/SelfSupSurg.
Purpose: Automatic segmentation and classification of surgical activity is crucial for providing advanced support in computer-assisted interventions and autonomous functionalities in robot-assisted surgeries. Prior works have focused on recognizing either coarse activities, such as phases, or fine-grained activities, such as gestures. This work aims at jointly recognizing two complementary levels of granularity directly from videos, namely phases and steps. Method: We introduce two correlated surgical activities, phases and steps, for the laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure. We propose a Multi-task Multi-Stage Temporal Convolutional Network (MTMS-TCN) along with a multi-task Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) training setup to jointly predict the phases and steps and benefit from their complementarity to better evaluate the execution of the procedure. We evaluate the proposed method on a large video dataset consisting of 40 surgical procedures (Bypass40). Results: We present experimental results from several baseline models for both phase and step recognition on the Bypass40 dataset. The proposed MTMS-TCN method outperforms in both phase and step recognition by 1-2% in accuracy, precision and recall, compared to single-task methods. Furthermore, for step recognition, MTMS-TCN achieves a superior performance of 3-6% compared to LSTM based models in accuracy, precision, and recall. Conclusion: In this work, we present a multi-task multi-stage temporal convolutional network for surgical activity recognition, which shows improved results compared to single-task models on the Bypass40 gastric bypass dataset with multi-level annotations. The proposed method shows that the joint modeling of phases and steps is beneficial to improve the overall recognition of each type of activity.