An Automated Liver Vasculature Segmentation from CT Scans for Hepatic Surgical Planning
Keywords:Vasculature segmentation, surgical planning, abdominal CT, vesselness, CED
Liver vasculature segmentation is a crucial step for liver surgical planning. Segmentation of liver vasculature is an important part of the 3D visualisation of the liver anatomy. The spatial relationship between vessels and other liver structures, like tumors and liver anatomic segments, helps in reducing the surgical treatment risks. However, liver vessels segmentation is a challenging task, that is due to low contrast with neighboring parenchyma, the complex anatomy, the very thin branches and very small vessels. This paper introduces a fully automated framework consist of four steps to segment the vessels inside the liver organ. Firstly, in the preprocessing step, a combination of two filtering techniques are used to extract and enhance vessels inside the liver region, first the vesselness filter is used to extract the vessels structure, and then the anisotropic coherence enhancing diffusion (CED) filter is used to enhance the intensity within the tubular vessels structure. This step is followed by a smart multiple thresholding to extract the initial vasculature segmentation. The liver vasculature structures, including hepatic veins connected to the inferior vena cava and the portal veins, are extracted. Finally, the inferior vena cava is segmented and excluded from the vessels segmentation, as it is not considered as part of the liver vasculature structure. The liver vessel segmentation method is validated on the publically available 3DIRCAD datasets. Dice coefficient (DSC) is used to evaluate the method, the average DSC score achieved a score 68.5%. The proposed approach succeeded to segment liver vasculature from the liver envelope accurately, which makes it as potential tool for clinical preoperative planning.
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