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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 502013, 9 pages
Research Article

Vascular Tree Segmentation in Medical Images Using Hessian-Based Multiscale Filtering and Level Set Method

Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Image Processing and Intelligent Control of Education Ministry of China, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China

Received 28 June 2013; Accepted 22 October 2013

Academic Editor: Tianye Niu

Copyright © 2013 Jiaoying Jin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vascular segmentation plays an important role in medical image analysis. A novel technique for the automatic extraction of vascular trees from 2D medical images is presented, which combines Hessian-based multiscale filtering and a modified level set method. In the proposed algorithm, the morphological top-hat transformation is firstly adopted to attenuate background. Then Hessian-based multiscale filtering is used to enhance vascular structures by combining Hessian matrix with Gaussian convolution to tune the filtering response to the specific scales. Because Gaussian convolution tends to blur vessel boundaries, which makes scale selection inaccurate, an improved level set method is finally proposed to extract vascular structures by introducing an external constrained term related to the standard deviation of Gaussian function into the traditional level set. Our approach was tested on synthetic images with vascular-like structures and 2D slices extracted from real 3D abdomen magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) images along the coronal plane. The segmentation rates for synthetic images are above 95%. The results for MRA images demonstrate that the proposed method can extract most of the vascular structures successfully and accurately in visualization. Therefore, the proposed method is effective for the vascular tree extraction in medical images.