SRM superpixel merging framework for precise segmentation of cervical nucleus

Ratna Saha, Mariusz Bajger, Gobert Lee

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cervical nuclei contain important diagnostic characteristics useful for identifying
abnormality in cervical cells. Therefore, an accurate segmentation of nuclei is the primary step in computer-aided diagnosis. However, cell overlapping, uneven staining, poor contrast, and presence of debris elements make this task challenging. A novel method is presented in this paper to detect
and segment nuclei from overlapping cervical smear images. The proposed framework segments nuclei by merging superpixels generated by statistical region merging (SRM) algorithm using pairwise regional contrasts and gradient boundaries. To overcome the limitation of finding the optimal parameter value, which controls the coarseness of the segmentation, a new approach for
SRM superpixel generation was introduced. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of the proposed framework is carried out using Overlapping Cervical Cytology Image Segmentation Challenge - ISBI 2014 dataset of 945 cervical images. In comparison with the state-of-the-art methods, the proposed methodology achieved superior segmentation performance in terms of
Dice similarity coefficient 0.956 and pixel-based recall 0.962. Other evaluation measures such as pixel-based precision 0.930, object-based precision 0.987, and recall 0.944, also compare favorably with some recently published studies. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed framework can precisely segment nuclei from overlapping cervical cell images, while
keeping high level of precision and recall. Therefore, the developed framework may assist cytologists in computerized cervical cell analysis and help with early diagnosis of cervical cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications (DICTA), Perth, Australia, 2019 - Perth, Australia
Duration: 2 Dec 20194 Dec 2019


ConferenceInternational Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications (DICTA), Perth, Australia, 2019
Abbreviated titleDICTA


  • cervical nucleus segmentation
  • gradient boundary
  • statistical region merging
  • pairwise regional contrast
  • Image segmentation
  • Shape prior
  • cervical cancer


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