3D segmentation of pelvic structures in pediatric MRI for surgical planning applications

Abstract : Surgical planning relies on the patient’s anatomy, and it is often based on medical images acquired before the surgery. This is in particular the case for pelvic surgery on children, for various indications such as malformations or tumors. In this particular anatomical region, due to its high vascularization and innervation, a good surgical planning is extremely important to avoid potential functional damages to the patient’s organs that could strongly affect their quality of life. In clinical practice the standard procedure is still to visually analyze, slice by slice, the images of the pelvic region. This task, even if quite easily performed by the expert radiologists, is difficult and tedious for the surgeons due to the complexity and variability of the anatomical structures and hence their images. Moreover, due to specific anatomy depending on the age of the patient, all the difficulties of the surgical planning are emphasized in the case of children, and a clear anatomical understanding is even more important than for the adults. For these reasons, it is very important and challenging to provide the surgeons with patient-specific 3D reconstructions, obtained from the segmentation of MRI images. In this work we propose a set of segmentation tools for pelvic MRI images of pediatric patients. In particular, we focus on three important pelvic structures: the pelvic bones, the pelvic vessels and the urinary bladder. For pelvic bones, we propose a semi-automatic approach based on template registration and deformable models. The main contribution of the proposed method is the introduction of a set of bones templates for different age ranges, which allows us to take into account the bones variability during growth. For vessels segmentation, we propose a patch-based deep learning approach using transfer learning, thus requiring few training data. The main contribution of this work is the design of a semi-automatic strategy for patches extraction, which allows the user to focus only on the vessels of interest for surgical planning. For bladder segmentation, we propose to use a deformable model approach that is particularly robust to image inhomogeneities and partial volume effects, which are often present in pediatric MRI images. All the developed segmentation methods are integrated in an open-source platform for medical imaging, delivering powerful tools and user-friendly GUIs to the surgeons. Furthermore, we set up a processing and portability workflow for visualization of the 3D patient specific models, allowing surgeons to generate, visualize and share within the hospital the patient specific 3D models. Finally, the results obtained with the proposed methods are quantitatively and qualitatively evaluated by pediatric surgeons, which demonstrates their potentials for clinical use in surgical planning procedures.
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Alessio Virzì. 3D segmentation of pelvic structures in pediatric MRI for surgical planning applications. Medical Imaging. Université Paris-Saclay, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLT002⟩. ⟨tel-02107714⟩

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