A Novel Extension to Fuzzy Connectivity for Body Composition Analysis: Applications in Thigh, Brain, and Whole Body Tissue Segmentation

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Irmakci İ. , Hussein S., Savran A. , Kalyani R., Reiter D., Chia C., ...More

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, vol.66, no.4, pp.1069-1081, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 66 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tbme.2018.2866764
  • Page Numbers: pp.1069-1081
  • Keywords: MRI, fat segmentation, muscle segmentation, affinity propagation, muscle quantification, fat quantification, whole-body tissue classification, brain tissue segmentation, INTENSITY STANDARDIZATION, IMAGE SEGMENTATION, MUSCLE, ATLAS, QUANTIFICATION, CONNECTEDNESS, SHAPE


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the non-invasive modality of choice for body tissue composition analysis due to its excellent soft-tissue contrast and lack of ionizing radiation. However, quantification of body composition requires an accurate segmentation of fat, muscle, and other tissues from MR images, which remains a challenging goal due to the intensity overlap between them. In this study, we propose a fully automated, data-driven image segmentation platform that addresses multiple difficulties in segmenting MR images such as varying inhomogeneity, non-standardness, and noise, while producing a high-quality definition of different tissues. In contrast to most approaches in the literature, we perform segmentation operation by combining three different MRI contrasts and a novel segmentation tool, which takes into account variability in the data. The proposed system, based on a novel affinity definition within the fuzzy connectivity image segmentation family, prevents the need for user intervention and reparametrization of the segmentation algorithms. In order to make the whole system fully automated, we adapt an affinity propagation clustering algorithm to roughly identify tissue regions and image background. We perform a thorough evaluation of the proposed algorithm's individual steps as well as comparison with several approaches from the literature for the main application of muscle/fat separation. Furthermore, whole-body tissue composition and brain tissue delineation were conducted to show the generalization ability of the proposed system. This new automated platform outperforms other state-of-the-art segmentation approaches both in accuracy and efficiency.