3D U$^2$-Net: A 3D Universal U-Net for Multi-Domain Medical Image Segmentation

4 Sep 2019  ·  Chao Huang, Hu Han, Qingsong Yao, Shankuan Zhu, S. Kevin Zhou ·

Fully convolutional neural networks like U-Net have been the state-of-the-art methods in medical image segmentation. Practically, a network is highly specialized and trained separately for each segmentation task. Instead of a collection of multiple models, it is highly desirable to learn a universal data representation for different tasks, ideally a single model with the addition of a minimal number of parameters steered to each task. Inspired by the recent success of multi-domain learning in image classification, for the first time we explore a promising universal architecture that handles multiple medical segmentation tasks and is extendable for new tasks, regardless of different organs and imaging modalities. Our 3D Universal U-Net (3D U$^2$-Net) is built upon separable convolution, assuming that {\it images from different domains have domain-specific spatial correlations which can be probed with channel-wise convolution while also share cross-channel correlations which can be modeled with pointwise convolution}. We evaluate the 3D U$^2$-Net on five organ segmentation datasets. Experimental results show that this universal network is capable of competing with traditional models in terms of segmentation accuracy, while requiring only about $1\%$ of the parameters. Additionally, we observe that the architecture can be easily and effectively adapted to a new domain without sacrificing performance in the domains used to learn the shared parameterization of the universal network. We put the code of 3D U$^2$-Net into public domain. \url{https://github.com/huangmozhilv/u2net_torch/}

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