UniMiSS: Universal Medical Self-Supervised Learning via Breaking Dimensionality Barrier

17 Dec 2021  ·  Yutong Xie, Jianpeng Zhang, Yong Xia, Qi Wu ·

Self-supervised learning (SSL) opens up huge opportunities for medical image analysis that is well known for its lack of annotations. However, aggregating massive (unlabeled) 3D medical images like computerized tomography (CT) remains challenging due to its high imaging cost and privacy restrictions. In this paper, we advocate bringing a wealth of 2D images like chest X-rays as compensation for the lack of 3D data, aiming to build a universal medical self-supervised representation learning framework, called UniMiSS. The following problem is how to break the dimensionality barrier, \ie, making it possible to perform SSL with both 2D and 3D images? To achieve this, we design a pyramid U-like medical Transformer (MiT). It is composed of the switchable patch embedding (SPE) module and Transformers. The SPE module adaptively switches to either 2D or 3D patch embedding, depending on the input dimension. The embedded patches are converted into a sequence regardless of their original dimensions. The Transformers model the long-term dependencies in a sequence-to-sequence manner, thus enabling UniMiSS to learn representations from both 2D and 3D images. With the MiT as the backbone, we perform the UniMiSS in a self-distillation manner. We conduct expensive experiments on six 3D/2D medical image analysis tasks, including segmentation and classification. The results show that the proposed UniMiSS achieves promising performance on various downstream tasks, outperforming the ImageNet pre-training and other advanced SSL counterparts substantially. Code is available at \def\UrlFont{\rm\small\ttfamily} \url{https://github.com/YtongXie/UniMiSS-code}.

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