Mass Segmentation in Automated 3-D Breast Ultrasound Using Adaptive Region Growing and Supervised Edge-Based Deformable Model

E. Kozegar, M. Soryani, H. Behnam, M. Salamati, T. Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Automated 3-D breast ultrasound has been proposed as a complementary modality to mammography for early detection of breast cancers. To facilitate the interpretation of these images, computer aided detection systems are being developed in which mass segmentation is an essential component for feature extraction and temporal comparisons. However, automated segmentation of masses is challenging because of the large variety in shape, size, and texture of these 3-D objects. In this paper, the authors aim to develop a computerized segmentation system, which uses a seed position as the only priori of the problem. A two-stage segmentation approach has been proposed incorporating shape information of training masses. At the first stage, a new adaptive region growing algorithm is used to give a rough estimation of the mass boundary. The similarity threshold of the proposed algorithm is determined using a Gaussian mixture model based on the volume and circularity of the training masses. In the second stage, a novel geometric edge-based deformable model is introduced using the result of the first stage as the initial contour. In a data set of 50 masses, including 38 malignant and 12 benign lesions, the proposed segmentation method achieved a mean Dice of 0.74 ± 0.19 which outperformed the adaptive region growing with a mean Dice of 0.65 ± 0.2 (p-value < 0.02). Moreover, the resulting mean Dice was significantly (p-value < 0.001) better than that of the distance regularized level set evolution method (0.52 ± 0.27). The supervised method presented in this paper achieved accurate mass segmentation results in terms of Dice measure. The suggested segmentation method can be utilized in two aspects: 1) to automatically measure the change in volume of breast lesions over time and 2) to extract features for a computer aided detection or diagnosis system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-928
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ultrasound
  • breast
  • mass
  • segmentation


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