"A Strain Energy Filter for 3D Vessel Enhancement with Application to Pulmonary CT Images"
Changyan Xiao, Marius Staring, Denis P. Shamonin, Johan H.C. Reiber, Jan Stolk and Berend C. Stoel
The traditional Hessian-related vessel filters often suffer from detecting complex structures like bifurcations due to an over-simplified cylindrical model. To solve this problem, we present a shape-tuned strain energy density function to measure vessel likelihood in 3D medical images. This method is initially inspired by established stress-strain principles in mechanics. By considering the Hessian matrix as a stress tensor, the three invariants from orthogonal tensor decomposition are used independently or combined to formulate distinctive functions for vascular shape discrimination, brightness contrast and structure strengthen measuring. Moreover, a mathematical description of Hessian eigenvalues for general vessel shapes is obtained, based on an intensity continuity assumption, and a relative Hessian strength term is presented to ensure the dominance of second-order derivatives as well as suppress undesired step edges. Finally, we adopt the multi-scale scheme to find an optimal solution through scale space. The proposed method is validated in experiments with a digital phantom and non-contrast-enhanced pulmonary CT data. It is shown that our model performed more effectively in enhancing vessel bifurcations and preserving details, compared to three existing filters.