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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 200-220
Review Article

A Biased Median Filtering Algorithm for Segmentation of Intestinal Cell Gland Images

Department of Pathology, Box 1194, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA

Received 15 September 2005; Revised 12 January 2006; Accepted 23 January 2006

Academic Editor: Margaret Tzaphlidou

Copyright © 2006 Hai-Shan Wu and Joan Gil.


In this paper, we introduce a biased median filtering image segmentation algorithm for intestinal cell glands consisting of goblet cells. While segmentation of individual cells are generally based on the dissimilarities in intensities, textures, and shapes between cell regions and background, the proposed segmentation algorithm of intestine cell glands is based on the differences in cell distributions. The intestine cell glands consist of goblet cells that are distributed in the chain-organized patterns in contrast to the more randomly distributed nongoblet cells scattered in the bright background. Four biased median filters with long rectangular windows of identical dimension, but different orientations, are designed based on the shapes and distributions of cells. Each biased median filter identifies a part of gland segments in a particular direction. The complete gland regions are the combined responses of the four biased median filters. A postprocessing procedure is designed to reduce the defects that may occur when glands are located very close together and to narrow the gapping areas because of the thin distribution of goblet cells. Segmentation results of real intestinal cell gland images are provided to show the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.