Deep Learning Measurement of Leg Length Discrepancy in Children Based on Radiographs

Qiang Zheng, Sphoorti Shellikeri, Hao Huang, Misun Hwang, Raymond W Sze
Radiology 2020 April 21, : 192003
Background Radiographic measurement of leg length discrepancy (LLD) is time consuming yet cognitively simple for pediatric radiologists. Purpose To compare deep learning (DL) measurements of LLD in pediatric patients to measurements performed by radiologists. Materials and Methods For this HIPAA-compliant retrospective study, radiographs obtained to evaluate LLD in children between January and August 2018 were identified. LLD was automatically measured by means of image segmentation followed by leg length calculation. On training data, a DL model was trained to segment femurs and tibias on radiographs. The validation set was used to select the optimized model. On testing data, leg lengths were calculated from segmentation masks and compared with measurements from the radiology report. Statistical analysis was performed by using a paired Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare DL calculations and radiology reports. In addition, the measurement time was manually assessed by a pediatric radiologist and automatically assessed by the DL model on a randomly chosen group of 26 cases; the values were compared with the paired Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results Radiographs obtained to evaluate LLD in 179 children (mean age ± standard deviation, 12 years ± 3; age range, 5-19 years; 89 boys and 90 girls) were evaluated. Radiographs were randomly divided into training, validation, and testing sets and consisted of studies from 70, 32, and 77 patients, respectively. In the training and validation sets, the DL model showed a high spatial overlap between manual and automatic segmentation masks of pediatric legs (Dice similarity coefficient, 0.94). For the testing set, the correlation between radiology reports and DL-calculated lengths of separated femurs and tibias ( r = 0.99; mean absolute error [MAE], 0.45 cm), full pediatric leg lengths ( r = 0.99; MAE, 0.45 cm), and full LLD ( r = 0.92; MAE, 0.51 cm) was high ( P < .001 for all correlations). Calculation time for the DL method per radiograph was faster than the mean time for radiologist manual calculation (1 second vs 96 seconds ± 7, respectively; P < .001). Conclusion A deep learning algorithm measured pediatric leg lengths with high spatial overlap compared with manual measurement at a rate 96 times faster than that of subspecialty-trained pediatric radiologists. © RSNA, 2020 See also the editorial by van Rijn and De Luca in this issue.

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