A directional distance aided method for medical image segmentation

Feng Zhuge, Shaohua Sun, Geoffrey Rubin, Sandy Napel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A challenging problem in image segmentation is preventing boundary leakage through poorly resolved edges because not enough local information can be provided along them. In this article, we propose a new directional distance aided image segmentation method, formulated under the level set framework, to prevent the leakage. At each evolution step, the zero level set is extracted and smoothed. For each point on the zero level set, a new directional distance (DD) term, defined as the vector starting from itself and pointing to its counterpart on the smoothed version of the zero level set, is calculated to measure its "degree of protrusion." The evolution speed of the points that are considered to be protruding out will be penalized. Other terms, e.g., curvature and gradient terms and user specified constraints, are used along with the DD term to influence the level set evolution. Our smoothing technique augments traditional Gaussian smoothing with a new antishrinkage operation. The novelty of our method is that the DD term does not depend on intensity or gradient boundaries to regulate the regional shape and, therefore, help prevent leakage and the method incorporates vertex-based curve/surface smoothing into curve evolution under the level set framework. Experimental results show that the new DDA method achieves promising results and reasonable stability in segmenting simulated objects as well as abdominal aortic aneurysms in computed tomography (CT) angiograms, in both 2D and 3D, by preventing leakage into adjacent structures while preserving local shape details.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4962-4976
Number of pages15
JournalMedical physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Directional distance
  • Gaussian smoothing
  • Leakage prevention
  • Level set
  • Segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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