D-Former: A U-shaped Dilated Transformer for 3D Medical Image Segmentation

3 Jan 2022  ·  Yixuan Wu, Kuanlun Liao, Jintai Chen, Jinhong Wang, Danny Z. Chen, Honghao Gao, Jian Wu ·

Computer-aided medical image segmentation has been applied widely in diagnosis and treatment to obtain clinically useful information of shapes and volumes of target organs and tissues. In the past several years, convolutional neural network (CNN) based methods (e.g., U-Net) have dominated this area, but still suffered from inadequate long-range information capturing. Hence, recent work presented computer vision Transformer variants for medical image segmentation tasks and obtained promising performances. Such Transformers model long-range dependency by computing pair-wise patch relations. However, they incur prohibitive computational costs, especially on 3D medical images (e.g., CT and MRI). In this paper, we propose a new method called Dilated Transformer, which conducts self-attention for pair-wise patch relations captured alternately in local and global scopes. Inspired by dilated convolution kernels, we conduct the global self-attention in a dilated manner, enlarging receptive fields without increasing the patches involved and thus reducing computational costs. Based on this design of Dilated Transformer, we construct a U-shaped encoder-decoder hierarchical architecture called D-Former for 3D medical image segmentation. Experiments on the Synapse and ACDC datasets show that our D-Former model, trained from scratch, outperforms various competitive CNN-based or Transformer-based segmentation models at a low computational cost without time-consuming per-training process.

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