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Detection, Modeling And Matching Of Pleural Thickenings From CT Data Towards An Early Diagnosis Of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

K. Chaisaowong, T. Kraus
Published 2014 · Medicine, Engineering, Computer Science

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Pleural thickenings can be caused by asbestos exposure and may evolve into malignant pleural mesothelioma. While an early diagnosis plays the key role to an early treatment, and therefore helping to reduce morbidity, the growth rate of a pleural thickening can be in turn essential evidence to an early diagnosis of the pleural mesothelioma. The detection of pleural thickenings is today done by a visual inspection of CT data, which is time-consuming and underlies the physician's subjective judgment. Computer-assisted diagnosis systems to automatically assess pleural mesothelioma have been reported worldwide. But in this paper, an image analysis pipeline to automatically detect pleural thickenings and measure their volume is described. We first delineate automatically the pleural contour in the CT images. An adaptive surface-base smoothing technique is then applied to the pleural contours to identify all potential thickenings. A following tissue-specific topology-oriented detection based on a probabilistic Hounsfield Unit model of pleural plaques specify then the genuine pleural thickenings among them. The assessment of the detected pleural thickenings is based on the volumetry of the 3D model, created by mesh construction algorithm followed by Laplace-Beltrami eigenfunction expansion surface smoothing technique. Finally, the spatiotemporal matching of pleural thickenings from consecutive CT data is carried out based on the semi-automatic lung registration towards the assessment of its growth rate. With these methods, a new computer-assisted diagnosis system is presented in order to assure a precise and reproducible assessment of pleural thickenings towards the diagnosis of the pleural mesothelioma in its early stage.
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