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Estimating Full Regional Skeletal Muscle Fibre Orientation from B-Mode Ultrasound Images Using Convolutional, Residual, and Deconvolutional Neural Networks

Cunningham, R and Sánchez, M and May, G and Loram, I (2018) Estimating Full Regional Skeletal Muscle Fibre Orientation from B-Mode Ultrasound Images Using Convolutional, Residual, and Deconvolutional Neural Networks. Journal of Imaging, 4 (2). ISSN 2313-433X

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Abstract

This paper presents an investigation into the feasibility of using deep learning methods for developing arbitrary full spatial resolution regression analysis of B-mode ultrasound images of human skeletal muscle. In this study, we focus on full spatial analysis of muscle fibre orientation, since there is an existing body of work with which to compare results. Previous attempts to automatically estimate fibre orientation from ultrasound are not adequate, often requiring manual region selection, feature engineering, providing low-resolution estimations (one angle per muscle) and deep muscles are often not attempted. We build upon our previous work in which automatic segmentation was used with plain convolutional neural network (CNN) and deep residual convolutional network (ResNet) architectures, to predict a low-resolution map of fibre orientation in extracted muscle regions. Here, we use deconvolutions and max-unpooling (DCNN) to regularise and improve predicted fibre orientation maps for the entire image, including deep muscles, removing the need for automatic segmentation and we compare our results with the CNN and ResNet, as well as a previously established feature engineering method, on the same task. Dynamic ultrasound images sequences of the calf muscles were acquired (25 Hz) from 8 healthy volunteers (4 male, ages: 25–36, median 30). A combination of expert annotation and interpolation/extrapolation provided labels of regional fibre orientation for each image. Neural networks (CNN, ResNet, DCNN) were then trained both with and without dropout using leave one out cross-validation. Our results demonstrated robust estimation of full spatial fibre orientation within approximately 6◦ error, which was an improvement on previous methods.

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