3-D breast ultrasound segmentation using active contour model

Dar Ren Chen*, Ruey Feng Chang, Wen Jie Wu, Woo Kyung Moon, Wen Lin Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

99 Scopus citations


In this study, we made use of the discrete active contour model to overcome the natural properties of ultrasound (US) images, speckle, noise and tissue-related textures, to segment the breast tumors precisely. Determination of the real tumor boundary with the snake-deformation process requires an initial contour estimate. However, the manual way to sketch an initial contour is very time-consuming. Thus, we propose an automatic initial contour-finding method that not only maintains the tumor shape, but also is close to the tumor boundary and inside the tumor. During the deformation process, to prevent the snake trapping into the false position caused by tissue-related texture or speckle, we added the edge information as an image feature to define the external force. In addition, because the 3-D volume of a tumor is essentially constructed by a sequence of 2-D images, our method for finding boundaries of a tumor can be extended to 3-D cases. By precisely counting the volume of the 3-D images, we can get the volume of tumor. Finally, we will show that the proposed techniques have rather good performance and lead to a satisfactory result in comparison with the estimated volume and physician's estimate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1026
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 01 07 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-D ultrasonic
  • Breast tumor
  • Segmentation
  • Snake
  • Volume measurement


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