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Quality Assessment of Surrogate Metrics in Multi-Atlas-Based Image Segmentation

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T Zhao

T Zhao*, D Ruan , UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA


SU-E-I-71 (Sunday, July 12, 2015) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: With the ever-growing data of heterogeneous quality, relevance assessment of atlases becomes increasingly critical for multi-atlas-based image segmentation. However, there is no universally recognized best relevance metric and even a standard to compare amongst candidates remains elusive. This study, for the first time, designs a quantification to assess relevance metrics' quality, based on a novel perspective of the metric as surrogate for inferring the inaccessible oracle geometric agreement.

Methods: We first develop an inference model to relate surrogate metrics in image space to the underlying oracle relevance metric in segmentation label space, with a monotonically non-decreasing function subject to random perturbations. Subsequently, we investigate model parameters to reveal key contributing factors to surrogates' ability in prognosticating the oracle relevance value, for the specific task of atlas selection. Finally, we design an effective contract-to-noise ratio (eCNR) to quantify surrogates' quality based on insights from these analyses and empirical observations.

Results: The inference model was specialized to a linear function with normally distributed perturbations, with surrogate metric exemplified by several widely-used image similarity metrics, i.e., MSD/NCC/(N)MI. Surrogates' behaviors in selecting the most relevant atlases were assessed under varying eCNR, showing that surrogates with high eCNR dominated those with low eCNR in retaining the most relevant atlases. In an end-to-end validation, NCC/(N)MI with eCNR of 0.12 compared to MSD with eCNR of 0.10 resulted in statistically better segmentation with mean DSC of about 0.85 and the first and third quartiles of (0.83, 0.89), compared to MSD with mean DSC of 0.84 and the first and third quartiles of (0.81, 0.89).

Conclusion: The designed eCNR is capable of characterizing surrogate metrics' quality in prognosticating the oracle relevance value. It has been demonstrated to be correlated with the performance of relevant atlas selection and ultimate label fusion.

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