Over the last decade, image processing tools have become crucial components of all clinical and research efforts involving medical imaging and associated applications. The imaging data available to the radiologists continue to increase their workload, raising the need for efficient identification and visualization of the required image data necessary for clinical assessment.
Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) in medical imaging has evolved in response to the need for techniques that can assist the radiologists to increase throughput while reducing human error and bias without compromising the outcome of the screening, diagnosis or disease assessment. More intelligent, but simple, consistent and less time-consuming methods will become more widespread, reducing user variability, while also revealing information in a more clear, visual way.
Several routine image processing approaches, including localization, segmentation, registration, and fusion, are critical for enhancing and enabling the development of CAD techniques. However, changes in clinical workflow require significant adjustments and re-training and, despite the efforts of the academic research community to develop state-of-the-art algorithms and high-performance techniques, their footprint often hampers their clinical use.
Currently, the main challenge seems to not be the lack of tools and techniques for medical image processing, analysis, and computing, but rather the lack of clinically feasible solutions that leverage the already developed and existing tools and techniques, as well as a demonstration of the potential clinical impact of such tools. Recently, more and more efforts have been dedicated to devising new algorithms for localization, segmentation or registration, while their potential and much intended clinical use and their actual utility is dwarfed by the scientific, algorithmic and developmental novelty that only result in incremental improvements over already algorithms.
In this thesis, we propose and demonstrate the implementation and evaluation of several different methodological guidelines that ensure the development of image processing tools --- localization, segmentation and registration --- and illustrate their use across several medical imaging modalities --- X-ray, computed tomography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging --- and several clinical applications:
Lung CT image registration in support for assessment of pulmonary nodule growth rate and disease progression from thoracic CT images.
Automated reconstruction of standing X-ray panoramas from multi-sector X-ray images for assessment of long limb mechanical axis and knee misalignment.
Left and right ventricle localization, segmentation, reconstruction, ejection fraction measurement from cine cardiac MRI or multi-plane trans-esophageal ultrasound images for cardiac function assessment.
When devising and evaluating our developed tools, we use clinical patient data to illustrate the inherent clinical challenges associated with highly variable imaging data that need to be addressed before potential pre-clinical validation and implementation.
In an effort to provide plausible solutions to the selected applications, the proposed methodological guidelines ensure the development of image processing tools that help achieve sufficiently reliable solutions that not only have the potential to address the clinical needs, but are sufficiently streamlined to be potentially translated into eventual clinical tools provided proper implementation.
G1: Reducing the number of degrees of freedom (DOF) of the designed tool, with a plausible example being avoiding the use of inefficient non-rigid image registration methods. This guideline addresses the risk of artificial deformation during registration and it clearly aims at reducing complexity and the number of degrees of freedom.
G2: The use of shape-based features to most efficiently represent the image content, either by using edges instead of or in addition to intensities and motion, where useful. Edges capture the most useful information in the image and can be used to identify the most important image features. As a result, this guideline ensures a more robust performance when key image information is missing.
G3: Efficient method of implementation. This guideline focuses on efficiency in terms of the minimum number of steps required and avoiding the recalculation of terms that only need to be calculated once in an iterative process. An efficient implementation leads to reduced computational effort and improved performance.
G4: Commence the workflow by establishing an optimized initialization and gradually converge toward the final acceptable result. This guideline aims to ensure reasonable outcomes in consistent ways and it avoids convergence to local minima, while gradually ensuring convergence to the global minimum solution.
These guidelines lead to the development of interactive, semi-automated or fully-automated approaches that still enable the clinicians to perform final refinements, while they reduce the overall inter- and intra-observer variability, reduce ambiguity, increase accuracy and precision, and have the potential to yield mechanisms that will aid with providing an overall more consistent diagnosis in a timely fashion.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Diagnostic imaging--Data processing; Image processing--Digital techniques; Image processing--Quality control; Computer algorithms
Imaging Science (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Cristian A. Linte
Nathan D. Cahill
Ben-Zikri, Yehuda K., "Development, Implementation and Pre-clinical Evaluation of Medical Image Computing Tools in Support of Computer-aided Diagnosis: Respiratory, Orthopedic and Cardiac Applications" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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