Semi-Supervised Brain Lesion Segmentation with an Adapted Mean Teacher Model

Automated brain lesion segmentation provides valuable information for the analysis and intervention of patients. In particular, methods based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have achieved state-of-the-art segmentation performance. However, CNNs usually require a decent amount of annotated data, which may be costly and time-consuming to obtain. Since unannotated data is generally abundant, it is desirable to use unannotated data to improve the segmentation performance for CNNs when limited annotated data is available. In this work, we propose a semi-supervised learning (SSL) approach to brain lesion segmentation, where unannotated data is incorporated into the training of CNNs. We adapt the mean teacher model, which is originally developed for SSL-based image classification, for brain lesion segmentation. Assuming that the network should produce consistent outputs for similar inputs, a loss of segmentation consistency is designed and integrated into a self-ensembling framework. Specifically, we build a student model and a teacher model, which share the same CNN architecture for segmentation. The student and teacher models are updated alternately. At each step, the student model learns from the teacher model by minimizing the weighted sum of the segmentation loss computed from annotated data and the segmentation consistency loss between the teacher and student models computed from unannotated data. Then, the teacher model is updated by combining the updated student model with the historical information of teacher models using an exponential moving average strategy. For demonstration, the proposed approach was evaluated on ischemic stroke lesion segmentation, where it improves stroke lesion segmentation with the incorporation of unannotated data.

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