Localization of the transverse processes in ultrasound for spinal curvature measurement

Shahrokh Kamali, Tamas Ungi, Andras Lasso, Christina Yan, Matthew Lougheed, Gabor Fichtinger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: In scoliosis monitoring, tracked ultrasound has been explored as a safer imaging alternative to traditional radiography. The use of ultrasound in spinal curvature measurement requires identification of vertebral landmarks such as transverse processes, but as bones have reduced visibility in ultrasound imaging, skeletal landmarks are typically segmented manually, which is an exceedingly laborious and long process. We propose an automatic algorithm to segment and localize the surface of bony areas in the transverse process for scoliosis in ultrasound. METHODS: The algorithm uses cascade of filters to remove low intensity pixels, smooth the image and detect bony edges. By applying first differentiation, candidate bony areas are classified. The average intensity under each area has a correlation with the possibility of a shadow, and areas with strong shadow are kept for bone segmentation. The segmented images are used to reconstruct a 3-D volume to represent the whole spinal structure around the transverse processes. RESULTS: A comparison between the manual ground truth segmentation and the automatic algorithm in 50 images showed 0.17 mm average difference. The time to process all 1, 938 images was about 37 Sec. (0.0191 Sec./Image), including reading the original sequence file. CONCLUSION: Initial experiments showed the algorithm to be sufficiently accurate and fast for segmentation transverse processes in ultrasound for spinal curvature measurement. An extensive evaluation of the method is currently underway on images from a larger patient cohort and using multiple observers in producing ground truth segmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2017
Subtitle of host publicationImage-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
ISBN (Electronic)9781510607156
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventMedical Imaging 2017: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling - Orlando, United States
Duration: Feb 14 2017Feb 16 2017


OtherMedical Imaging 2017: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Scoliosis
  • Transverse process localization
  • Ultrasound automatic bone segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Localization of the transverse processes in ultrasound for spinal curvature measurement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this