In many applications of X-ray computed tomography, an unsupervised segmentation of the reconstructed 3D volumes forms an important step in the image processing chain for further investigation of the digitized object. Therefore, the goal is to train a clustering algorithm on the volume, which produces a voxelwise classification by assigning a cluster index to each voxel. However, clustering methods, e.g., K-Means, typically have an asymptotic polynomial runtime with respect to the dataset size, and thus, these techniques are rarely applicable to large volumes. In this work, we introduce a novel clustering technique based on random sampling, which allows for the voxelwise classification of arbitrarily large volumes. The presented method conducts efficient linear passes over the data to extract a representative random sample of a fixed size on which the classifier can be trained. Then, a final linear pass performs the segmentation and assigns a cluster index to each individual voxel. Quantitative and qualitative evaluations show that excellent results can be achieved even with a very small sample size. Consequently, the unsupervised segmentation by means of clustering becomes feasible for arbitrarily large volumes.
Thresholding is the most widely used segmentation method in volumetric image processing, and its pointwise nature makes it attractive for the fast handling of large three-dimensional samples. However, global thresholds often do not properly extract components in the presence of artifacts, measurement noise or grayscale value fluctuations. This paper introduces Feature-Adaptive Interactive Thresholding (FAITH), a thresholding technique that incorporates (geometric) features, local processing and interactive user input to overcome these limitations. Given a global threshold suitable for most regions, FAITH uses interactively selected seed voxels to identify critical regions in which that threshold will be adapted locally on the basis of features computed from local environments around these voxels. The combination of domain expert knowledge and a rigorous mathematical model thus enables a very exible way of local thresholding with intuitive user interaction. A qualitative analysis shows that the proposed model is able to overcome limitations typically occuring in plain thresholding while staying efficient enough to also allow the segmentation of big volumes.
Segmentation, i.e., the partitioning of volumetric data into components, is a crucial task in many image processing applications ever since such data could be generated. Most existing applications nowadays, specifically CNNs, make use of voxelwise classification systems which need to be trained on a large number of annotated training volumes. However, in many practical applications such data sets are seldom available and the generation of annotations is time-consuming and cumbersome. In this paper, we introduce a novel voxelwise segmentation method based on active learning on geometric features. Our method uses interactively provided seed points to train a voxelwise classifier based entirely on local information. The combination of an ad hoc incorporation of domain knowledge and local processing results in a flexible yet efficient segmentation method that is applicable to three-dimensional volumes without size restrictions. We illustrate the potential and flexibility of our approach by applying it to selected computed tomography scans where we perform different segmentation tasks to scans from different domains and of different sizes.
Hip fracture risk assessment is an important but challenging task. Quantitative CT-based patient specific finite element analysis (FEA) computes the force (fracture load) to break the proximal femur in a particular loading condition. It provides different structural information about the proximal femur that can influence a subject overall fracture risk. To obtain a more robust measure of fracture risk, we used principal component analysis (PCA) to develop a global FEA computed fracture risk index that incorporates the FEA-computed yield and ultimate failure loads and energies to failure in four loading conditions (single-limb stance and impact from a fall onto the posterior, posterolateral, and lateral aspects of the greater trochanter) of 110 hip fracture subjects and 235 age and sex matched control subjects from the AGES-Reykjavik study. We found that the first PC (PC1) of the FE parameters was the only significant predictor of hip fracture. Using a logistic regression model, we determined if prediction performance for hip fracture using PC1 differed from that using FE parameters combined by stratified random resampling with respect to hip fracture status. The results showed that the average of the area under the receive operating characteristic curve (AUC) using PC1 was always higher than that using all FE parameters combined in the male subjects. The AUC of PC1 and AUC of the FE parameters combined were not significantly different than that in the female subjects or in all subjects