Multilevel segmentation of intracranial aneurysms in CT angiography images
Purpose: Segmentation of aneurysms plays an important role in interventional planning. Yet, the segmentation of both the lumen and the thrombus of an intracranial aneurysm in computed tomography angiography (CTA) remains a challenge. This paper proposes a multilevel segmentation methodology for efficiently segmenting intracranial aneurysms in CTA images. Methods: The proposed methodology first uses the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) to extract the lumen part directly from the original image. Then, the LBM is applied again on an intermediate image whose lumen part is filled by the mean gray-level value outside the lumen, to yield an image region containing part of the aneurysm boundary. After that, an expanding disk is introduced to estimate the complete contour of the aneurysm. Finally, the contour detected is used as the initial contour of the level set with ellipse to refine the aneurysm. Results: The results obtained on 11 patients from different hospitals showed that the proposed segmentation was comparable with manual segmentation, and that quantitatively, the average segmentation matching factor (SMF) reached 86.99%, demonstrating good segmentation accuracy. Chan-Vese method, Sen's model, and Luca's model were used to compare the proposed method and their average SMF values were 39.98%, 40.76%, and 77.11%, respectively. Conclusions: The authors have presented a multilevel segmentation method based on the LBM and level set with ellipse for accurate segmentation of intracranial aneurysms. Compared to three existing methods, for all eleven patients, the proposed method can successfully segment the lumen with the highest SMF values for nine patients and second highest SMF values for the two. It also segments the entire aneurysm with the highest SMF values for ten patients and second highest SMF value for the one. This makes it potential for clinical assessment of the volume and aspect ratio of the intracranial aneurysms. (C) 2016 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.