Deep learning has enabled significant improvements in the accuracy of 3D blood vessel segmentation. Open challenges remain in scenarios where labeled 3D segmentation maps for training are severely limited, as is often the case in practice, and in ensuring robustness to noise. Inspired by the observation that 3D vessel structures project onto 2D image slices with informative and unique edge profiles, we propose a novel deep 3D vessel segmentation network guided by edge profiles. Our network architecture comprises a shared encoder and two decoders that learn segmentation maps and edge profiles jointly. 3D context is mined in both the segmentation and edge prediction branches by employing bidirectional convolutional long-short term memory (BCLSTM) modules. 3D features from the two branches are concatenated to facilitate learning of the segmentation map. As a key contribution, we introduce new regularization terms that: a) capture the local homogeneity of 3D blood vessel volumes in the presence of biomarkers; and b) ensure performance robustness to domain-specific noise by suppressing false positive responses. Experiments on benchmark datasets with ground truth labels reveal that the proposed approach outperforms state-of-the-art techniques on standard measures such as DICE overlap and mean Intersection-over-Union. The performance gains of our method are even more pronounced when training is limited. Furthermore, the computational cost of our network inference is among the lowest compared with state-of-the-art.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design