Shion Ando, Ping Yeap Loh

Convolutional Neural Network Approaches in Median Nerve Morphological Assessment from Ultrasound Images

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Ultrasound imaging has been used to investigate compression of the median nerve in carpal tunnel syndrome patients. Ultrasound imaging and the extraction of median nerve parameters from ultrasound images are crucial and are usually performed manually by experts. The manual annotation of ultrasound images relies on experience, and intra- and interrater reliability may vary among studies. In this study, two types of convolutional neural networks (CNNs), U-Net and SegNet, were used to extract the median nerve morphology. To the best of our knowledge, the application of these methods to ultrasound imaging of the median nerve has not yet been investigated. Spearman’s correlation and Bland–Altman analyses were performed to investigate the correlation and agreement between manual annotation and CNN estimation, namely, the cross-sectional area, circumference, and diameter of the median nerve. The results showed that the intersection over union (IoU) of U-Net (0.717) was greater than that of SegNet (0.625). A few images in SegNet had an IoU below 0.6, decreasing the average IoU. In both models, the IoU decreased when the median nerve was elongated longitudinally with a blurred outline. The Bland–Altman analysis revealed that, in general, both the U-Net- and SegNet-estimated measurements showed 95% limits of agreement with manual annotation. These results show that these CNN models are promising tools for median nerve ultrasound imaging analysis.

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