Quantitative salivary gland SPECT/CT using deep convolutional neural networks

Junyoung Park, Jae Sung Lee, Dongkyu Oh, Hyun Gee Ryoo, Jeong Hee Han, Won Woo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) using Tc-99m pertechnetate aids in evaluating salivary gland function. However, gland segmentation and quantitation of gland uptake is challenging. We develop a salivary gland SPECT/CT with automated segmentation using a deep convolutional neural network (CNN). The protocol comprises SPECT/CT at 20 min, sialagogue stimulation, and SPECT at 40 min post-injection of Tc-99m pertechnetate (555 MBq). The 40-min SPECT was reconstructed using the 20-min CT after misregistration correction. Manual salivary gland segmentation for %injected dose (%ID) by human experts proved highly reproducible, but took 15 min per scan. An automatic salivary segmentation method was developed using a modified 3D U-Net for end-to-end learning from the human experts (n = 333). The automatic segmentation performed comparably with human experts in voxel-wise comparison (mean Dice similarity coefficient of 0.81 for parotid and 0.79 for submandibular, respectively) and gland %ID correlation (R2 = 0.93 parotid, R2 = 0.95 submandibular) with an operating time less than 1 min. The algorithm generated results that were comparable to the reference data. In conclusion, with the aid of a CNN, we developed a quantitative salivary gland SPECT/CT protocol feasible for clinical applications. The method saves analysis time and manual effort while reducing patients’ radiation exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7842
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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