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Nizar Almoussa, Brittany Dutra, Bryce Lampe, Pascal Getreuer, Todd Wittman, Carolyn Salafia, and Luminita Vese, “Automated Vasculature Extraction from Placenta Images.” Proceedings of SPIE, vol. 7962, 2011. DOI: 10.1117/12.878343.

Article permalink: http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.878343

    title = {Automated Vasculature Extraction from Placenta Images},
    author = {Nizar Almoussa and Brittany Dutra and Bryce Lampe 
              and Pascal Getreuer and Todd Wittman 
              and Carolyn Salafia and Luminita Vese},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of {SPIE}},
    volume = {7962},
    year = {2011},
    doi = {10.1117/12.878343}


Recent research in perinatal pathology argues that analyzing properties of the placenta may reveal important information on how certain diseases progress. One important property is the structure of the placental blood vessels, which supply a fetus with all of its oxygen and nutrition. An essential step in the analysis of the vascular network pattern is the extraction of the blood vessels, which has only been done manually through a costly and time-consuming process. There is no existing method to automatically detect placental blood vessels; in addition, the large variation in the shape, color, and texture of the placenta makes it difficult to apply standard edge-detection algorithms. We describe a method to automatically detect and extract blood vessels from a given image by using image processing techniques and neural networks. We evaluate several local features for every pixel, in addition to a novel modification to an existing road detector. Pixels belonging to blood vessel regions have recognizable responses; hence, we use an artificial neural network to identify the pattern of blood vessels. A set of images where blood vessels are manually highlighted is used to train the network. We then apply the neural network to recognize blood vessels in new images. The network is effective in capturing the most prominent vascular structures of the placenta.

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