Automatic Segmentation of Vessels in In-Vivo Ultrasound Scans

Philip Tamimi-Sarnikowski, Andreas Brink-Kjær, Ramin Moshavegh, Jørgen Arendt Jensen

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Ultrasound has become highly popular to monitor atherosclerosis, by scanning the carotid artery. The screening involves measuring the thickness of the vessel wall and diameter of the lumen. An automatic segmentation of the vessel lumen, can enable the determination of lumen diameter. This paper presents a fully automatic segmentation algorithm, for robustly segmenting the vessel lumen in longitudinal B-mode ultrasound images. The automatic segmentation is performed using a combination of B-mode and power Doppler images. The proposed algorithm includes a series of preprocessing steps, and performs a vessel segmentation by use of the marker-controlled watershed transform. The ultrasound images used in the study were acquired using the bk3000 ultrasound scanner (BK Ultrasound, Herlev, Denmark) with two transducers ”8L2 Linear” and ”10L2w Wide Linear” (BK Ultrasound, Herlev, Denmark). The algorithm was evaluated empirically and applied to a dataset of in-vivo 1770 images recorded from 8 healthy subjects. The segmentation results were compared to manual delineation performed by two experienced users. The results showed a sensitivity and specificity of 90.41 ± 11.2 % and 97.93 ± 5.7 % (mean ± standard deviation), respectively. The amount of overlap of segmentation and manual segmentation, was measured by the Dice similarity coefficient, which was 91.25 ± 11.6 %. The empirical results demonstrated the feasibility of segmenting the vessel lumen in ultrasound scans using a fully automatic algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
Number of pages9
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2017
Article number101371P
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventSPIE Medical Imaging 2017 - Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging: SPIE Conference 10137 - Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, Orlando, United States
Duration: 11 Feb 201716 Feb 2017


ConferenceSPIE Medical Imaging 2017 - Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging
LocationRenaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
Country/TerritoryUnited States
SeriesProceedings of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering

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Copyright 2017 Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic electronic or print reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


  • Automatic segmentation
  • Ultrasound imaging
  • Watershed transform
  • Vascular disease


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