SPARSE: Seed point auto-generation for random walks segmentation enhancement in medical inhomogeneous targets delineation of morphological MR and CT images

Haibin Chen, Xin Zhen, Xuejun Gu, Hao Yan, Laura Cervino, Yang Xiao, Linghong Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


In medical image processing, robust segmentation of inhomogeneous targets is a challenging problem. Because of the complexity and diversity in medical images, the commonly used semiautomatic segmentation algorithms usually fail in the segmentation of inhomogeneous objects. In this study, we propose a novel algorithm imbedded with a seed point autogeneration for random walks segmentation enhancement, namely SPARSE, for better segmentation of inhomogeneous objects. With a few user-labeled points, SPARSE is able to generate extended seed points by estimating the probability of each voxel with respect to the labels. The random walks algorithm is then applied upon the extended seed points to achieve improved segmentation result. SPARSE is implemented under the compute unified device architecture (CUDA) programming environment on graphic processing unit (GPU) hardware platform. Quantitative evaluations are performed using clinical homogeneous and inhomogeneous cases. It is found that the SPARSE can greatly decrease the sensitiveness to initial seed points in terms of location and quantity, as well as the freedom of selecting parameters in edge weighting function. The evaluation results of SPARSE also demonstrate substantial improvements in accuracy and robustness to inhomogeneous target segmentation over the original random walks algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-402
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015



  • Autogeneration
  • Inhomogeneous target
  • Random walks
  • Seed point
  • Segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation

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