Automatic Segmentation of Pulmonary Lobes Robust Against Incomplete Fissures

E. van Rikxoort, M. Prokop, B. de Hoop, M. Viergever, J. Pluim and B. van Ginneken

IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging 2010;29(6):1286-1296.

DOI PMID Download Cited by ~100

A method for automatic segmentation of pulmonary lobes from computed tomography (CT) scans is presented that is robust against incomplete fissures. The method is based on a multi-atlas approach in which existing lobar segmentations are deformed to test scans in which the fissures, the lungs, and the bronchial tree have been automatically segmented. The key element of our method is a cost function that exploits information from fissures, lung borders, and bronchial tree in an effective way, such that less reliable information (lungs, airways) is only used when the most reliable information (fissures) is missing. To cope with the anatomical variation in lobe shape, an atlas selection mechanism is introduced. The method is evaluated on two test sets of 120 scans in total. The results show that the lobe segmentation closely follows the fissures when they are present. In a simulated experiment in which parts of complete fissures are removed, the robustness of the method against different levels of incomplete fissures is shown. When the fissures are incomplete, an observer study shows agreement of the automatically determined lobe borders with a radiologist for 81\% of the lobe borders on average.