SCS-Net: A Scale and Context Sensitive Network for Retinal Vessel Segmentation

Huisi Wu, Wei Wang, Jiafu Zhong, Baiying Lei, Zhenkun Wen, Jing Qin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Accurately segmenting retinal vessel from retinal images is essential for the detection and diagnosis of many eye diseases. However, it remains a challenging task due to (1) the large variations of scale in the retinal vessels and (2) the complicated anatomical context of retinal vessels, including complex vasculature and morphology, the low contrast between some vessels and the background, and the existence of exudates and hemorrhage. It is difficult for a model to capture representative and distinguishing features for retinal vessels under such large scale and semantics variations. Limited training data also make this task even harder. In order to comprehensively tackle these challenges, we propose a novel scale and context sensitive network (a.k.a., SCSNet) for retinal vessel segmentation. We first propose a scale-aware feature aggregation (SFA) module, aiming at dynamically adjusting the receptive fields to effectively extract multi-scale features. Then, an adaptive feature fusion (AFF) module is designed to guide efficient fusion between adjacent hierarchical features to capture more semantic information. Finally, a multi-level semantic supervision (MSS) module is employed to learn more distinctive semantic representation for refining the vessel maps. We conduct extensive experiments on the six mainstream retinal image databases (DRIVE, CHASEDB1, STARE, IOSTAR, HRF, and LES-AV). The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed SCS-Net, which is capable of achieving better segmentation performance than other state-of-the-art approaches, especially for the challenging cases with large scale variations and complex context environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102025
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Adaptive feature fusion
  • Multi-level semantic supervision
  • Retinal vessel segmentation
  • Scale-aware feature aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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