Multi-atlas pancreas segmentation: Atlas selection based on vessel structure

Ken'ichi Karasawa, Masahiro Oda, Takayuki Kitasaka, Kazunari Misawa, Michitaka Fujiwara, Chengwen Chu, Guoyan Zheng, Daniel Rueckert, Kensaku Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Automated organ segmentation from medical images is an indispensable component for clinical applications such as computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) and computer-assisted surgery (CAS). We utilize a multi-atlas segmentation scheme, which has recently been used in different approaches in the literature to achieve more accurate and robust segmentation of anatomical structures in computed tomography (CT) volume data. Among abdominal organs, the pancreas has large inter-patient variability in its position, size and shape. Moreover, the CT intensity of the pancreas closely resembles adjacent tissues, rendering its segmentation a challenging task. Due to this, conventional intensity-based atlas selection for pancreas segmentation often fails to select atlases that are similar in pancreas position and shape to those of the unlabeled target volume. In this paper, we propose a new atlas selection strategy based on vessel structure around the pancreatic tissue and demonstrate its application to a multi-atlas pancreas segmentation. Our method utilizes vessel structure around the pancreas to select atlases with high pancreatic resemblance to the unlabeled volume. Also, we investigate two types of applications of the vessel structure information to the atlas selection. Our segmentations were evaluated on 150 abdominal contrast-enhanced CT volumes. The experimental results showed that our approach can segment the pancreas with an average Jaccard index of 66.3% and an average Dice overlap coefficient of 78.5%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Image Analysis
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Atlas selection
  • CT image
  • Multi-atlas
  • Pancreas segmentation
  • Vessel structure


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