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This article presents a semi-automatic method for segmentation and reconstruction of freehand three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound data. The method incorporates a number of interesting features within the level-set framework: First, segmentation is carried out using region competition, requiring multiple distinct and competing regions to be encoded within the framework. This region competition uses a simple dot-product based similarity measure to compare intensities within each region. In addition, segmentation and surface reconstruction is performed within the 3D domain to take advantage of the additional spatial information available. This means that the method must interpolate the surface where there are gaps in the data, a feature common to freehand 3D ultrasound reconstruction. Finally, although the level-set method is restricted to a voxel grid, no assumption is made that the data being segmented will conform to this grid and may be segmented in its world-reference position. The volume reconstruction method is demonstrated in vivo for the volume measurement of ovarian follicles. The 3D reconstructions produce a lower error variance than the current clinical measurement based on a mean diameter estimated from two-dimensional (2D) images. However, both the clinical measurement and the semi-automatic method appear to underestimate the true follicular volume.

Original publication




Journal article


Ultrasound Med Biol

Publication Date





183 - 195


Algorithms, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Ovarian Diseases, Ovarian Follicle, Ultrasonography