Segmentation editing improves efficiency while reducing inter-expert variation and maintaining accuracy for normal brain tissues in the presence of space-occupying lesions

M. A. Deeley, A. Chen, R. D. Datteri, J. Noble, A. Cmelak, E. Donnelly, A. Malcolm, L. Moretti, Jerry Jaboin, K. Niermann, Eddy S. Yang, David S. Yu, B. M. Dawant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Image segmentation has become a vital and often rate-limiting step in modern radiotherapy treatment planning. In recent years, the pace and scope of algorithm development, and even introduction into the clinic, have far exceeded evaluative studies. In this work we build upon our previous evaluation of a registration driven segmentation algorithm in the context of 8 expert raters and 20 patients who underwent radiotherapy for large space-occupying tumours in the brain. In this work we tested four hypotheses concerning the impact of manual segmentation editing in a randomized single-blinded study. We tested these hypotheses on the normal structures of the brainstem, optic chiasm, eyes and optic nerves using the Dice similarity coefficient, volume, and signed Euclidean distance error to evaluate the impact of editing on inter-rater variance and accuracy. Accuracy analyses relied on two simulated ground truth estimation methods: simultaneous truth and performance level estimation and a novel implementation of probability maps. The experts were presented with automatic, their own, and their peers' segmentations from our previous study to edit. We found, independent of source, editing reduced inter-rater variance while maintaining or improving accuracy and improving efficiency with at least 60% reduction in contouring time. In areas where raters performed poorly contouring from scratch, editing of the automatic segmentations reduced the prevalence of total anatomical miss from approximately 16% to 8% of the total slices contained within the ground truth estimations. These findings suggest that contour editing could be useful for consensus building such as in developing delineation standards, and that both automated methods and even perhaps less sophisticated atlases could improve efficiency, inter-rater variance, and accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4071-4097
Number of pages27
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 21 2013
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)

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