Segmentation of breast tumor in three-dimensional ultrasound images using three-dimensional discrete active contour model

Ruey Feng Chang, Wen Jie Wu, Woo Kyung Moon, Wei Ming Chen, Wei Lee, Dar Ren Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In this paper, we apply the three-dimensional (3-D) active contour model to a 3-D ultrasonic data file for segmenting of the breast tumor. The 3-D ultrasonic file is composed of a series of two-dimensional (2-D) images. Most of traditional techniques of 2-D image segmentation will not use the information between adjacent images. To suit the property of the 3-D data, we introduce the concept of the 3-D stick, the 3-D morphologic process and the 3-D active contour model. The 3-D stick can get over the problem that the ultrasonic image is full of speckle noise and highlight the edge information in images. The 3-D morphologic process helps to determine the contour of the tumor and the resulting contour can be regarded as the initial contour of the active contour model. Finally, the 3-D active contour model will make the initial contour approach to the real contour of the tumor. However, there is emphasis on these 3-D techniques that they do not consist of a series of 2-D techniques. When they work, they will consider the horizontal, vertical and depth directions at the same time. The use of these 3-D techniques not only segments the 3-D shape but also obtains the volume of the tumor. The volume of the tumor calculated by the proposed method will be compared with the volume calculated by the VOCAL™ software with the physician's manually drawn shape and it shows that the performance of our method is satisfactory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1571-1581
Number of pages11
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Segmentation
  • Three-dimensional active contour model
  • Three-dimensional stick
  • Three-dimensional ultrasound image

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