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Wave-Net: A lightweight deep network for retinal vessel segmentation from fundus images

Liu, Yanhong; Shen, Ji; Yang, Lei; Yu, Hongnian; Bian, Guibin


Yanhong Liu

Ji Shen

Lei Yang

Guibin Bian


Accurate segmentation of retinal vessels from fundus images is fundamental for the diagnosis of numerous diseases of eye, and an automated vessel segmentation method can effectively help clinicians to make accurate diagnosis for the patients and provide the appropriate treatment schemes. It is important to note that both thick and thin vessels play the key role for disease judgements. Because of complex factors, the precise segmentation of thin vessels is still a great challenge, such as the presence of various lesions, image noise, complex backgrounds and poor contrast in the fundus images. Recently, because of the advantage of context feature representation learning capabilities, deep learning has shown a remarkable segmentation performance on retinal vessels. However, it still has some shortcomings on high-precision retinal vessel extraction due to some factors, such as semantic information loss caused by pooling operations, limited receptive field, etc. To address these problems, this paper proposes a new lightweight segmentation network for precise retinal vessel segmentation, which is called as Wave-Net model on account of the whole shape. To alleviate the influence of semantic information loss problem to thin vessels, to acquire more contexts about micro structures and details, a detail enhancement and denoising block (DED) is proposed to improve the segmentation precision on thin vessels, which replaces the simple skip connections of original U-Net. On the other hand, it could well alleviate the influence of the semantic gap problem. Further, faced with limited receptive field, for multi-scale vessel detection, a multi-scale feature fusion block (MFF) is proposed to fuse cross-scale contexts to achieve higher segmentation accuracy and realize effective processing of local feature maps. Experiments indicate that proposed Wave-Net achieves an excellent performance on retinal vessel segmentation while maintaining a lightweight network design compared to other advanced segmentation methods, and it also has shown a better segmentation ability to thin vessels.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 23, 2022
Publication Date 2023-01
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2023
Journal Computers in Biology and Medicine
Print ISSN 0010-4825
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 152
Article Number 106341