#78: Epifluorescence-based quantitative microvasculature remodeling using geodesic level-sets and shape-based evolution

F. Bunyak, K. Palaniappan, O. Glinskii, V. Glinskii, V. Glinsky, and V. Huxley

30th IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conf. (EMBC), pgs. 3134--3137, 2008

segmentation, image enhancement, active contours, vasculature, biomedical

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Accurate vessel segmentation is the first step in analysis of microvascular networks for reliable feature extraction and quantitative characterization. Segmentation of epifluorescent imagery of microvasculature presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities compared to traditional angiogram-based vessel imagery. This paper presents a novel system that combines methods from mathematical morphology, differential geometry, and active contours to reliably detect and segment microvasculature under varying background fluores- cence conditions. The system consists of three main modules: vessel enhancement, shape-based initialization, and level-set based segmentation. Vessel enhancement deals with image noise and uneven background fluorescence using anisotropic diffusion and mathematical morphology techniques. Shape-based initial- ization uses features from the second-order derivatives of the enhanced vessel image and produces a coarse ridge (vessel) mask. Geodesic level-set based active contours refine the coarse ridge map and fix possible discontinuities or leakage of the level set contours that may arise from complex topology or high background fluorescence. The proposed system is tested on epifluorescence-based high resolution images of porcine dura mater microvasculature. Preliminary experiments show promising results.