A Novel Quality Control Algorithm for Medical Image Segmentation Based on Fuzzy Uncertainty

Qiao Lin, Xin Chen, Chao Chen, Jonathan M. Garibaldi

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Deep learning methods have achieved an excellent performance in medical image segmentation. However, the practical application of deep learning-based segmentation models is limited in clinical settings due to the lack of reliable information about the segmentation quality. In this article, we propose a novel quality control algorithm based on fuzzy uncertainty to quantify the quality of the predicted segmentation results as part of the model inference process. First, test-time augmentation and Monte Carlo dropout are applied simultaneously to capture both the data and model uncertainties of the trained image segmentation model. Then, a fuzzy set is generated to describe the captured uncertainty with the assistance of the linear Euclidean distance transform algorithm. Finally, the fuzziness of the generated fuzzy set is adopted to calculate an image-level segmentation uncertainty and, therefore, to infer the segmentation quality. Extensive experiments using five medical image segmentation applications on the detection of skin lesion, nuclei, lung, breast, and cell are conducted to evaluate the proposed algorithm. The experimental results show that the estimated image-level uncertainties using the proposed method have strong correlations with the segmentation qualities measured by the Dice coefficient, resulting in absolute Pearson correlation coefficients of 0.60-0.92. Our method outperforms other five state-of-the-art quality control methods in classifying the segmentation results into good and poor quality groups (area under the receiver operating curve of greater than 0.92, while other methods are below 0.85).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2532-2544
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Data uncertainty
  • fuzzy sets
  • model uncertainty
  • quality control
  • semantic segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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