"Enhancing Breast Ultrasound Segmentation through Fine-tuning and Optimization Techniques: Sharp Attention UNet"

December 13, 2023

A paper co-authored by PhD student Donya Khaledyan, Professor Kevin Parker, and colleagues in the Department of Imaging Sciences titled "Enhancing Breast Ultrasound Segmentation through Fine-tuning and Optimization Techniques: Sharp Attention UNet" has been published in PLoS OneThe abstract follows; more information can be found here.

Abstract: Segmentation of breast ultrasound images is a crucial and challenging task in computer-aided diagnosis systems. Accurately segmenting masses in benign and malignant cases and identifying regions with no mass is a primary objective in breast ultrasound image segmentation. Deep learning (DL) has emerged as a powerful tool in medical image segmentation, revolutionizing how medical professionals analyze and interpret complex imaging data. The UNet architecture is a highly regarded and widely used DL model in medical image segmentation. Its distinctive architectural design and exceptional performance have made it popular among researchers. With the increase in data and model complexity, optimization and fine-tuning models play a vital and more challenging role than before. This paper presents a comparative study evaluating the effect of image preprocessing and different optimization techniques and the importance of fine-tuning different UNet segmentation models for breast ultrasound images. Optimization and fine-tuning techniques have been applied to enhance the performance of UNet, Sharp UNet, and Attention UNet. Building upon this progress, we designed a novel approach by combining Sharp UNet and Attention UNet, known as Sharp Attention UNet. Our analysis yielded the following quantitative evaluation metrics for the Sharp Attention UNet: the Dice coefficient, specificity, sensitivity, and F1 score values obtained were 0.93, 0.99, 0.94, and 0.94, respectively. In addition, McNemar's statistical test was applied to assess significant differences between the approaches. Across a number of measures, our proposed model outperformed all other models, resulting in improved breast lesion segmentation.