Ultrasound spine image segmentation using multi-scale feature fusion Skip-Inception U-Net (SIU-Net)

Sunetra Banerjee, Juan Lyu, Zixun Huang, Frank H.F. Leung, Timothy Lee, De Yang, Steven Su, Yongping Zheng, Sai Ho Ling

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Scoliosis is a 3D spinal deformation where the spine takes a lateral curvature, forming an angle in the coronal plane. Diagnosis of scoliosis requires periodic detection, and frequent exposure to radiative imaging may cause cancer. A safer and more economical alternative imaging, i.e., 3D ultrasound imaging modality, is being explored. However, unlike other radiative modalities, an ultrasound image is noisy, which often suppresses the image's useful information. Through this research, a novel hybridized CNN architecture, multi-scale feature fusion Skip-Inception U-Net (SIU-Net), is proposed for a fully automatic bony feature detection, which can be further used to assess the severity of scoliosis safely and automatically. The proposed architecture, SIU-Net, incorporates two novel features into the basic U-Net architecture: (a) an improvised Inception block and (b) newly designed decoder-side dense skip pathways. The proposed model is tested on 109 spine ultrasound image datasets. The architecture is evaluated using the popular (i) Jaccard Index (ii) Dice Coefficient and (iii) Euclidean distance, and compared with (a) the basic U-net segmentation model, (b) a more evolved UNet++ model, and (c) a newly developed MultiResUNet model. The results show that SIU-Net gives the clearest segmentation output, especially in the important regions of interest such as thoracic and lumbar bony features. The method also gives the highest average Jaccard score of 0.781 and Dice score of 0.883 and the lowest histogram Euclidean distance of 0.011 than the other three models. SIU-Net looks promising to meet the objectives of a fully automatic scoliosis detection system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-361
Number of pages21
JournalBiocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Bony feature
  • Convolutional neural network
  • Feature fusion
  • Scoliosis
  • Segmentation
  • U-Net
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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