Dynamic-weighting hierarchical segmentation network for medical images

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number102196
Journal / PublicationMedical Image Analysis
Online published29 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


Automatic medical image segmentation plays a crucial role in many medical image analysis applications, such as disease diagnosis and prognosis. Despite the extensive progress of existing deep learning based models for medical image segmentation, they focus on extracting accurate features by designing novel network structures and solely utilize fully connected (FC) layer for pixel-level classification. Considering the insufficient capability of FC layer to encode the extracted diverse feature representations, we propose a Hierarchical Segmentation (HieraSeg) Network for medical image segmentation and devise a Hierarchical Fully Connected (HFC) layer. Specifically, it consists of three classifiers and decouples each category into several subcategories by introducing multiple weight vectors to denote the diverse characteristics in each category. A subcategory-level and a category-level learning schemes are then designed to explicitly enforce the discrepant subcategories and automatically capture the most representative characteristics. Hence, the HFC layer can fit the variant characteristics so as to derive an accurate decision boundary. To enhance the robustness of HieraSeg Network with the variability of lesions, we further propose a Dynamic-Weighting HieraSeg (DW-HieraSeg) Network, which introduces an Image-level Weight Net (IWN) and a Pixel-level Weight Net (PWN) to learn data-driven curriculum. Through progressively incorporating informative images and pixels in an easy-to-hard manner, DW-HieraSeg Network is able to eliminate local optimums and accelerate the training process. Additionally, a class balanced loss is proposed to constrain the PWN for preventing the overfitting problem in minority category. Comprehensive experiments on three benchmark datasets, EndoScene, ISIC and Decathlon, show our newly proposed HieraSeg and DW-HieraSeg Networks achieve state-of-the-art performance, which clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed approaches for medical image segmentation.

Research Area(s)

  • Dynamic weighting strategy, Hierarchical fully connected layer, Hierarchical segmentation network, Medical image segmentation