JOURNAL ARTICLE

Definition of an automated Content-Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) system for the comparison of dermoscopic images of pigmented skin lesions

Alfonso Baldi, Raffaele Murace, Emanuele Dragonetti, Mario Manganaro, Oscar Guerra, Stefano Bizzi, Luca Galli
Biomedical Engineering Online 2009 August 16, 8: 18
19682395

BACKGROUND: New generations of image-based diagnostic machines are based on digital technologies for data acquisition; consequently, the diffusion of digital archiving systems for diagnostic exams preservation and cataloguing is rapidly increasing. To overcome the limits of current state of art text-based access methods, we have developed a novel content-based search engine for dermoscopic images to support clinical decision making.

METHODS: To this end, we have enrolled, from 2004 to 2008, 3415 caucasian patients and collected 24804 dermoscopic images corresponding to 20491 pigmented lesions with known pathology. The images were acquired with a well defined dermoscopy system and stored to disk in 24-bit per pixel TIFF format using interactive software developed in C++, in order to create a digital archive.

RESULTS: The analysis system of the images consists in the extraction of the low-level representative features which permits the retrieval of similar images in terms of colour and texture from the archive, by using a hierarchical multi-scale computation of the Bhattacharyya distance of all the database images representation with respect to the representation of user submitted (query).

CONCLUSION: The system is able to locate, retrieve and display dermoscopic images similar in appearance to one that is given as a query, using a set of primitive features not related to any specific diagnostic method able to visually characterize the image. Similar search engine could find possible usage in all sectors of diagnostic imaging, or digital signals, which could be supported by the information available in medical archives.

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