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Integrated Intelligent Research (IIR) International Journal of Data Mining Techniques and Applications
Volume: 05 Issue: 02 December 2016 Page No.118-120
ISSN: 2278-2419
118
A Study on MRI Liver Image Segmentation using
Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Techniques
A.S. Thenmozhi1
, N. Radhakrishnan2
1
Research Scholar, Mother Teresa Women’s University, Kodaikanal
2
Director, Geo Research Centre, Pammal, Chennai
E-Mail: astthenn@gmail.com, radhakrishnan.nr@gmail.com
Abstract - A comparison study between automatic and
interactive methods for liver segmentation from contrast-
enhanced MRI images is ocean. A collection of 20 clinical
images with reference segmentations was provided to train and
tune algorithms in advance. Employed algorithms include
statistical shape models, atlas registration, level-sets, graph-
cuts and rule-based systems. All results were compared to refer
five error measures that highlight different aspects of
segmentation accuracy. The measures were combined
according to a specific scoring system relating the obtained
values to human expert variability. In general, interactive
methods like Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Methods
reached higher average scores than automatic approaches and
featured a better consistency of segmentation quality.
However, the best automatic methods (mainly based on
statistical shape models with some additional free deformation)
could compete well on the majority of test images. The study
provides an insight in performance of different segmentation
approaches under real-world conditions and highlights
achievements and limitations of current image analysis
techniques. In this paper only Fuzzy Connected and
Watershed Methods are discussed.
Keywords: Segmentation, Liver, MRI Images, Fuzzy
Connected, Watershed methods.
I. INTRODUCTION
The segmentation of liver using Magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI) data has gained a lot of importance in the medical image
processing field. In this paper, a survey on liver segmentation
methods and techniques using MRI images are presented,
recent methods presented in the literature to obtain liver
segmentation are viewed. The two main classes of liver
segmentation are semi automatic and fully automatic. The liver
segmentation evaluation measurements and scoring are shown.
The comparative study for liver segmentation methods will be
accentuated carefully. In this paper, it is concluded that
automatic liver segmentation using MRI images is still an open
problem. Various weaknesses and drawbacks of the proposed
methods are addressed.
II. ABOUT LIVER SEGMENTATION
Liver image segmentation has played a very important role in
medical imaging field. The advances in digital image
processing techniques have attracted researchers towards the
development of computerized methods for liver analysis.
Machine learning techniques combined with image processing
techniques provide various semi-automatic and automatic
techniques for liver image segmentation. However, liver image
segmentation from abdominal images is difficult task due to
three main reasons. First is due to low contrast and blurry
edges of liver. Second, intensity of pixels in liver region is
similar and overlapped with nearby organs and tissues in
abdominal image. Third, liver is non-rigid in shape and variant
in position and it is very complex. All these facts increase the
difficulty of the liver image segmentation task. In this report,
we are reviewing segmentation techniques which are mainly
automatic in nature. It also highlights the significant
contribution of machine learning techniques in biomedical
imaging field then we prepare the research project to apply in
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Developing a robust method for
liver segmentation from MRI images is a challenging task due
to the similar intensity values between adjacent organs,
geometrically complex liver structure and the injection of
contrast media, which causes all tissues to have different gray
level values. Therefore, liver segmentation from medical
images is still an open problem. Generally, method and
approaches to liver segmentation is semi-automatic or
automatic. Semi-automatic liver segmentation methods require
a limited user intervention to complete the task. This
intervention varies from a manual selection for seed points to a
manual refinement of a binary mask for the liver. The term
automated means that the liver segmentation process is
implemented without any sort of operator intervention. This
kind of method is highly appreciated by radiologists since it is
free from user errors and biases, and it saves the operator from
a potentially hard work and wasted time. The latest
achievements in liver segmentation are reviewed in this
section.
III. CLASSIFICATION OF SEGMENTATION
METHODS
In Fig. 1 shows the various segmentation methods and
proposed methods Fuzzy Connected and Watershed. The
paper is organized as follows. In the next two sections, a brief
description of the fuzzy connected-based image segmentation
method and its weaknesses can be identify. Section 5 presents
Watershed method. Section 6 is devoted to comparison of
Integrated Intelligent Research (IIR) International Journal of Data Mining Techniques and Applications
Volume: 05 Issue: 02 December 2016 Page No.118-120
ISSN: 2278-2419
119
fuzzy connected-based method designed to cope with some of
its deficiencies. Summary and future enhancement is discussed
in section 7
Fig.1 Various segmentation methods
IV. FUZZY CONNECTED METHOD
The idea of fuzzy connectedness goes back to the work of
Rosenfeld [7]. Dellepiane et al. [3] and Udupa and
Samarasekara [4] were the first authors to incorporate the
fuzzy nature of images into a segmentation algorithm through
the concept of fuzzy connectedness, which is supposed to
capture efficiently fuzzy “hanging togetherness”. In practice,
the idea is to compute a map of the connectedness of every
pixel in the original image, in relation with one specific
(designated) pixel belonging to the OOI (Object Of Interest).
Fuzzy connected algorithm implemented in MATLAB and the
resultant image is shown in Fig. 2.
Fig.2 Liver Image Captured from MRI using Fuzzy
Connected Method
(a) Original Image, (b)Gray Scale Thresholding (c and d) The
Segmentation Obtained with Fuzzy Connected Method.(e)
Noise (f) AfterCorrection Noiseless.
4.1 Draw Backs in Fuzzy Connected Method
Although the practical results of segmentation obtained by this
method are often good, we can easily identify three types of
weaknesses: (a) The segmentation results strongly depend on
the choice of the functions g1 and g2 defining the pixel affinity
to the reference pixel. (b) The results are also strongly
dependent on the way parameters are defined in the interaction
step. (c) The segmentation results also strongly depend on the
threshold used for the binarization of µ. In this paper, only the
last two of these deficiencies are addressed.
V. WATERSHED BASED METHOD
Several variants of an automatic segmentation method based
on the watersheds have been described in the literature on
mathematical morphology [8]. Local minima of the spatial
gradient modulus are detected and serve as seeds for the
detection of watersheds [9]. As we stated in the introduction,
these methods are powerful in simple situations, but generally
fail in real life complicated images. This is due to the fact that,
even after regularization, the number of local minima is
generally larger than the number of objects (or of regions),
resulting in an over-segmentation problem which remains
difficult to solve even after a posteriori aggregation of non-
significant regions to significant ones.
Thus, the fuzzy connected method is modified in the following
lines: First, not only one object, but the different objects or
regions the user wants to differentiate, are designated and
labeled. Second, in order to avoid thresholding, the affinity to
any seed can be computed and the labeling of the pixel can be
done according to the maximum affinity. In practice, instead of
computing all the affinities for every pixel, it proves faster to
label the pixels in the course of the computation. These
modifications have five important consequences: a) Several
labeled objects are obtained at once. b) The segmentation
results are generally improved. c) There is no need to fix any
threshold. d) The results obtained with the modified method
can be easily compared with those from the semi-automatic
watershed-based method we have developed. e) Since multiple
seeds for the same OOI can be used, the evaluation of the
parameters (mean and variance) is improved.
Fig.3 Liver Image Captured from MRI using Watershed
Method
(a) Original Image, (b)Gray Scale Thresholding (c and d) The
Segmentation Obtained with Watershed Method.(e) Noise (f)
After Correction Noiseless.
Integrated Intelligent Research (IIR) International Journal of Data Mining Techniques and Applications
Volume: 05 Issue: 02 December 2016 Page No.118-120
ISSN: 2278-2419
120
The results from this test can be summarized as: a) The
introduction of the concept of competition in the algorithm of
fuzzy connected-based segmentation is really powerful and the
results of segmentation are much better than the “no
competition” variant. b) For this specific example, the
competitive fuzzy connected-based approach outperforms the
competitive watersheds method significantly, even with a small
number of seeds. Figure 2 displays the original image (2a), the
result of a gray scale thresholding (2b) and the segmentation
obtained with the two methods (2c and 2d) as specified in the
captions. Since this type of image contains many artifacts and
noise, it is more difficult to perform gray level thresholding
than expected (2b). The methods proposed here are well suited
in this case. The segmentation results obtained with the
watershed approach (2c) and the competitive fuzzy
connectedness method (2d) are quite correction.
VI. COMPARISON OF FUZZY CONNECTED
METHOD AND WATERSHED METHOD
In Table 1 shows the comparison two interaction methods with
the following parameters. How the nature of output image is
obtained, Spatial Information is rejected, Region-Continuity is
average, and Computation Complexity is less in Fuzzy
Connected Method and Average in Watershed method. Noise
Immunity, Detection of Multiple Objects, Automaticity and
Accuracy are applied the results are showed less, poor,
Interactive, Average respectively.
Table 1: Comparison between Fuzzy Connected and
Watershed Methods
VII. SUMMARY
It is agreed in this paper that the concept of fuzzy connected is
very interesting in the context of semi-automatic image
segmentation. However, its present implementation suffers
from several drawbacks which make it very sensitive to several
parameters the user has to provide. To overcome these
drawbacks, we propose a new implementation of this concept,
introducing the paradigm of competitive learning. This
implementation attenuates some of these drawbacks, especially
the need to choose a threshold. Second, we propose a method
for semi-automatic segmentation, as an extension of the
watershed-based method, also in presence of competition. For
further research both the methods are to be extended with
Noise reduction and Edge Detection Algorithms.
References
[1] E.N. Mortensen, and W.A. Barrett, Interactive
segmentation with intelligent scissors, GMIP, 60, 1998,
349-384
[2] A.X. Falcão, J.K. Udupa, S. Samarasekera, S. Sharma,
B.E. Hirsch, and R. de A. Lotufo, User-steered image
segmentation paradigms: live wire and live lane, GMIP,
60, 1998, 233-260.
[3] S.G. Dellepiane, F. Fontana and G.L. Vernazza,
Nonlinear Image Labeling for Multivalued
Segmentation, IEEE Transaction on Image Processing,
5, 1996, 429- 446.
[4] J.K. Udupa, and S. Samarasekera, Fuzzy connectedness
and object definition: theory, algorithms and
applications in image segmentation, GMIP, 58, 1996,
246-261.
[5] B.M. Carvalho, C.J. Gau, G.T. Herman, and T. Yung
Kong, Algorithms for fuzzy segmentation, Pattern
Analysis & Applications, 2, 1999, 73-81.
[6] P.K. Saha, J.K. Udupa, and D. Odhner, Scale-based
fuzzy connectedness image segmentation: theory,
algorithms and validation, CVIU, 77, 2000, 145-174.
[7] A. Rosenfeld, Fuzzy Digital Topology, Inform. Control.,
40, 1979, 76-87.
[8] J. Serra, Image analysis and mathematical morphology
(London: Academic Press, 1982).
[9] S. Beucher, and F. Meyer, The morphological approach
to segmentation: the watershed transformation in E.R.
Doughterty (Ed.), Mathematical morphology in image
processing, (New-York: Dekker, 1992), 433-481.
[10] J. Shen and S. Castan, An optimal linear operator for
step edge detection, CVGIP: Graphical Models and
Image Processing, 54, 1992, 112-133.
About Authors:
Currently Working as Assistant Professor in PG & Research
Department of Computer Science and Applications at D.G.
Vaishnav College, Arumbakkam, Chennai-600106. She is
having more than 18 year’s experiences. She Wrote Two
Books Visual Programming for BCA, Advanced Java
Programming for MCA/M.Sc.IT/BCA students of University
of Madras. Her area of interest is Medical Data Mining.

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A Study on MRI Liver Image Segmentation using Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Techniques

  • 1. Integrated Intelligent Research (IIR) International Journal of Data Mining Techniques and Applications Volume: 05 Issue: 02 December 2016 Page No.118-120 ISSN: 2278-2419 118 A Study on MRI Liver Image Segmentation using Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Techniques A.S. Thenmozhi1 , N. Radhakrishnan2 1 Research Scholar, Mother Teresa Women’s University, Kodaikanal 2 Director, Geo Research Centre, Pammal, Chennai E-Mail: astthenn@gmail.com, radhakrishnan.nr@gmail.com Abstract - A comparison study between automatic and interactive methods for liver segmentation from contrast- enhanced MRI images is ocean. A collection of 20 clinical images with reference segmentations was provided to train and tune algorithms in advance. Employed algorithms include statistical shape models, atlas registration, level-sets, graph- cuts and rule-based systems. All results were compared to refer five error measures that highlight different aspects of segmentation accuracy. The measures were combined according to a specific scoring system relating the obtained values to human expert variability. In general, interactive methods like Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Methods reached higher average scores than automatic approaches and featured a better consistency of segmentation quality. However, the best automatic methods (mainly based on statistical shape models with some additional free deformation) could compete well on the majority of test images. The study provides an insight in performance of different segmentation approaches under real-world conditions and highlights achievements and limitations of current image analysis techniques. In this paper only Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Methods are discussed. Keywords: Segmentation, Liver, MRI Images, Fuzzy Connected, Watershed methods. I. INTRODUCTION The segmentation of liver using Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data has gained a lot of importance in the medical image processing field. In this paper, a survey on liver segmentation methods and techniques using MRI images are presented, recent methods presented in the literature to obtain liver segmentation are viewed. The two main classes of liver segmentation are semi automatic and fully automatic. The liver segmentation evaluation measurements and scoring are shown. The comparative study for liver segmentation methods will be accentuated carefully. In this paper, it is concluded that automatic liver segmentation using MRI images is still an open problem. Various weaknesses and drawbacks of the proposed methods are addressed. II. ABOUT LIVER SEGMENTATION Liver image segmentation has played a very important role in medical imaging field. The advances in digital image processing techniques have attracted researchers towards the development of computerized methods for liver analysis. Machine learning techniques combined with image processing techniques provide various semi-automatic and automatic techniques for liver image segmentation. However, liver image segmentation from abdominal images is difficult task due to three main reasons. First is due to low contrast and blurry edges of liver. Second, intensity of pixels in liver region is similar and overlapped with nearby organs and tissues in abdominal image. Third, liver is non-rigid in shape and variant in position and it is very complex. All these facts increase the difficulty of the liver image segmentation task. In this report, we are reviewing segmentation techniques which are mainly automatic in nature. It also highlights the significant contribution of machine learning techniques in biomedical imaging field then we prepare the research project to apply in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Developing a robust method for liver segmentation from MRI images is a challenging task due to the similar intensity values between adjacent organs, geometrically complex liver structure and the injection of contrast media, which causes all tissues to have different gray level values. Therefore, liver segmentation from medical images is still an open problem. Generally, method and approaches to liver segmentation is semi-automatic or automatic. Semi-automatic liver segmentation methods require a limited user intervention to complete the task. This intervention varies from a manual selection for seed points to a manual refinement of a binary mask for the liver. The term automated means that the liver segmentation process is implemented without any sort of operator intervention. This kind of method is highly appreciated by radiologists since it is free from user errors and biases, and it saves the operator from a potentially hard work and wasted time. The latest achievements in liver segmentation are reviewed in this section. III. CLASSIFICATION OF SEGMENTATION METHODS In Fig. 1 shows the various segmentation methods and proposed methods Fuzzy Connected and Watershed. The paper is organized as follows. In the next two sections, a brief description of the fuzzy connected-based image segmentation method and its weaknesses can be identify. Section 5 presents Watershed method. Section 6 is devoted to comparison of
  • 2. Integrated Intelligent Research (IIR) International Journal of Data Mining Techniques and Applications Volume: 05 Issue: 02 December 2016 Page No.118-120 ISSN: 2278-2419 119 fuzzy connected-based method designed to cope with some of its deficiencies. Summary and future enhancement is discussed in section 7 Fig.1 Various segmentation methods IV. FUZZY CONNECTED METHOD The idea of fuzzy connectedness goes back to the work of Rosenfeld [7]. Dellepiane et al. [3] and Udupa and Samarasekara [4] were the first authors to incorporate the fuzzy nature of images into a segmentation algorithm through the concept of fuzzy connectedness, which is supposed to capture efficiently fuzzy “hanging togetherness”. In practice, the idea is to compute a map of the connectedness of every pixel in the original image, in relation with one specific (designated) pixel belonging to the OOI (Object Of Interest). Fuzzy connected algorithm implemented in MATLAB and the resultant image is shown in Fig. 2. Fig.2 Liver Image Captured from MRI using Fuzzy Connected Method (a) Original Image, (b)Gray Scale Thresholding (c and d) The Segmentation Obtained with Fuzzy Connected Method.(e) Noise (f) AfterCorrection Noiseless. 4.1 Draw Backs in Fuzzy Connected Method Although the practical results of segmentation obtained by this method are often good, we can easily identify three types of weaknesses: (a) The segmentation results strongly depend on the choice of the functions g1 and g2 defining the pixel affinity to the reference pixel. (b) The results are also strongly dependent on the way parameters are defined in the interaction step. (c) The segmentation results also strongly depend on the threshold used for the binarization of µ. In this paper, only the last two of these deficiencies are addressed. V. WATERSHED BASED METHOD Several variants of an automatic segmentation method based on the watersheds have been described in the literature on mathematical morphology [8]. Local minima of the spatial gradient modulus are detected and serve as seeds for the detection of watersheds [9]. As we stated in the introduction, these methods are powerful in simple situations, but generally fail in real life complicated images. This is due to the fact that, even after regularization, the number of local minima is generally larger than the number of objects (or of regions), resulting in an over-segmentation problem which remains difficult to solve even after a posteriori aggregation of non- significant regions to significant ones. Thus, the fuzzy connected method is modified in the following lines: First, not only one object, but the different objects or regions the user wants to differentiate, are designated and labeled. Second, in order to avoid thresholding, the affinity to any seed can be computed and the labeling of the pixel can be done according to the maximum affinity. In practice, instead of computing all the affinities for every pixel, it proves faster to label the pixels in the course of the computation. These modifications have five important consequences: a) Several labeled objects are obtained at once. b) The segmentation results are generally improved. c) There is no need to fix any threshold. d) The results obtained with the modified method can be easily compared with those from the semi-automatic watershed-based method we have developed. e) Since multiple seeds for the same OOI can be used, the evaluation of the parameters (mean and variance) is improved. Fig.3 Liver Image Captured from MRI using Watershed Method (a) Original Image, (b)Gray Scale Thresholding (c and d) The Segmentation Obtained with Watershed Method.(e) Noise (f) After Correction Noiseless.
  • 3. Integrated Intelligent Research (IIR) International Journal of Data Mining Techniques and Applications Volume: 05 Issue: 02 December 2016 Page No.118-120 ISSN: 2278-2419 120 The results from this test can be summarized as: a) The introduction of the concept of competition in the algorithm of fuzzy connected-based segmentation is really powerful and the results of segmentation are much better than the “no competition” variant. b) For this specific example, the competitive fuzzy connected-based approach outperforms the competitive watersheds method significantly, even with a small number of seeds. Figure 2 displays the original image (2a), the result of a gray scale thresholding (2b) and the segmentation obtained with the two methods (2c and 2d) as specified in the captions. Since this type of image contains many artifacts and noise, it is more difficult to perform gray level thresholding than expected (2b). The methods proposed here are well suited in this case. The segmentation results obtained with the watershed approach (2c) and the competitive fuzzy connectedness method (2d) are quite correction. VI. COMPARISON OF FUZZY CONNECTED METHOD AND WATERSHED METHOD In Table 1 shows the comparison two interaction methods with the following parameters. How the nature of output image is obtained, Spatial Information is rejected, Region-Continuity is average, and Computation Complexity is less in Fuzzy Connected Method and Average in Watershed method. Noise Immunity, Detection of Multiple Objects, Automaticity and Accuracy are applied the results are showed less, poor, Interactive, Average respectively. Table 1: Comparison between Fuzzy Connected and Watershed Methods VII. SUMMARY It is agreed in this paper that the concept of fuzzy connected is very interesting in the context of semi-automatic image segmentation. However, its present implementation suffers from several drawbacks which make it very sensitive to several parameters the user has to provide. To overcome these drawbacks, we propose a new implementation of this concept, introducing the paradigm of competitive learning. This implementation attenuates some of these drawbacks, especially the need to choose a threshold. Second, we propose a method for semi-automatic segmentation, as an extension of the watershed-based method, also in presence of competition. For further research both the methods are to be extended with Noise reduction and Edge Detection Algorithms. References [1] E.N. Mortensen, and W.A. Barrett, Interactive segmentation with intelligent scissors, GMIP, 60, 1998, 349-384 [2] A.X. Falcão, J.K. Udupa, S. Samarasekera, S. Sharma, B.E. Hirsch, and R. de A. Lotufo, User-steered image segmentation paradigms: live wire and live lane, GMIP, 60, 1998, 233-260. [3] S.G. Dellepiane, F. Fontana and G.L. Vernazza, Nonlinear Image Labeling for Multivalued Segmentation, IEEE Transaction on Image Processing, 5, 1996, 429- 446. [4] J.K. Udupa, and S. Samarasekera, Fuzzy connectedness and object definition: theory, algorithms and applications in image segmentation, GMIP, 58, 1996, 246-261. [5] B.M. Carvalho, C.J. Gau, G.T. Herman, and T. Yung Kong, Algorithms for fuzzy segmentation, Pattern Analysis & Applications, 2, 1999, 73-81. [6] P.K. Saha, J.K. Udupa, and D. Odhner, Scale-based fuzzy connectedness image segmentation: theory, algorithms and validation, CVIU, 77, 2000, 145-174. [7] A. Rosenfeld, Fuzzy Digital Topology, Inform. Control., 40, 1979, 76-87. [8] J. Serra, Image analysis and mathematical morphology (London: Academic Press, 1982). [9] S. Beucher, and F. Meyer, The morphological approach to segmentation: the watershed transformation in E.R. Doughterty (Ed.), Mathematical morphology in image processing, (New-York: Dekker, 1992), 433-481. [10] J. Shen and S. Castan, An optimal linear operator for step edge detection, CVGIP: Graphical Models and Image Processing, 54, 1992, 112-133. About Authors: Currently Working as Assistant Professor in PG & Research Department of Computer Science and Applications at D.G. Vaishnav College, Arumbakkam, Chennai-600106. She is having more than 18 year’s experiences. She Wrote Two Books Visual Programming for BCA, Advanced Java Programming for MCA/M.Sc.IT/BCA students of University of Madras. Her area of interest is Medical Data Mining.