OBJECTIVE: The objective is to present a proof-of-concept of a semi-automatic method to reduce hippocampus segmentation time on magnetic resonance images (MRI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: FAst Segmentation Through SURface Fairing (FASTSURF) is based on a surface fairing technique which reconstructs the hippocampus from sparse delineations. To validate FASTSURF, simulations were performed in which sparse delineations extracted from full manual segmentations served as input. On three different datasets with different diagnostic groups, FASTSURF hippocampi were compared to the original segmentations using Jaccard overlap indices and percentage volume differences (PVD). In one data set for which back-to-back scans were available, unbiased estimates of overlap and PVD were obtained. Using longitudinal scans, we compared hippocampal atrophy rates measured by manual, FASTSURF and two automatic segmentations (FreeSurfer and FSL-FIRST).
RESULTS: With only seven input contours, FASTSURF yielded mean Jaccard indices ranging from 72(±4.3)% to 83(±2.6)% and PVDs ranging from 0.02(±2.40)% to 3.2(±3.40)% across the three datasets. Slightly poorer results were obtained for the unbiased analysis, but the performance was still considerably better than both tested automatic methods with only five contours.
CONCLUSIONS: FASTSURF segmentations have high accuracy and require only a fraction of the delineation effort of fully manual segmentation. Atrophy rate quantification based on completely manual segmentation is well reproduced by FASTSURF. Therefore, FASTSURF is a promising tool to be implemented in clinical workflow, provided a future prospective validation confirms our findings.