Automated anomaly-aware 3D segmentation of bones and cartilages in knee MR images from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

In medical image analysis, automated segmentation of multi-component anatomical structures, which often have a spectrum of potential anomalies and pathologies, is a challenging task. In this work, we develop a multi-step approach using U-Net-based neural networks to initially detect anomalies (bone marrow lesions, bone cysts) in the distal femur, proximal tibia and patella from 3D magnetic resonance (MR) images of the knee in individuals with varying grades of osteoarthritis. Subsequently, the extracted data are used for downstream tasks involving semantic segmentation of individual bone and cartilage volumes as well as bone anomalies. For anomaly detection, the U-Net-based models were developed to reconstruct the bone profiles of the femur and tibia in images via inpainting so anomalous bone regions could be replaced with close to normal appearances. The reconstruction error was used to detect bone anomalies. A second anomaly-aware network, which was compared to anomaly-na\"ive segmentation networks, was used to provide a final automated segmentation of the femoral, tibial and patellar bones and cartilages from the knee MR images containing a spectrum of bone anomalies. The anomaly-aware segmentation approach provided up to 58% reduction in Hausdorff distances for bone segmentations compared to the results from the anomaly-na\"ive segmentation networks. In addition, the anomaly-aware networks were able to detect bone lesions in the MR images with greater sensitivity and specificity (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] up to 0.896) compared to the anomaly-na\"ive segmentation networks (AUC up to 0.874).

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