Intracranial aneurysm volume and shape are important factors for predicting rupture risk, for pre-surgical planning and for follow-up studies. To obtain these parameters, manual segmentation can be employed; however, this is a tedious procedure, which is prone to inter- and intra-observer variability. Therefore there is a need for an automated method, which is accurate, reproducible and reliable. This study aims to develop and validate an automated method for segmenting intracranial aneurysms in Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) data. Also, it is investigated whether prior smoothing improves segmentation robustness and accuracy. The proposed segmentation method is implemented in the level set framework, more specifically Geodesic Active Surfaces, in which a surface is evolved to capture the aneurysmal wall via an energy minimization approach. The energy term is composed of three different image features, namely; intensity, gradient magnitude and intensity variance. The method requires minimal user interaction, i.e. a single seed point inside the aneurysm needs to be placed, based on which image intensity statistics of the aneurysm are derived and used in defining the energy term. The method has been evaluated on 15 aneurysms in 11 CTA data sets by comparing the results to manual segmentations performed by two expert radiologists. Evaluation measures were Similarity Index, Average Surface Distance and Volume Difference. The results show that the automated aneurysm segmentation method is reproducible, and performs in the range of inter-observer variability in terms of accuracy. Smoothing by nonlinear diffusion with appropriate parameter settings prior to segmentation, slightly improves segmentation accuracy.

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European Journal of Radiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Firouzian, A., Manniesing, R., Flach, Z., Risselada, R., van Kooten, F., Sturkenboom, M., … Niessen, W. (2011). Intracranial aneurysm segmentation in 3D CT angiography: Method and quantitative validation with and without prior noise filtering. European Journal of Radiology, 79(2), 299–304. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2010.02.015