Elongated Physiological Structure Segmentation via Spatial and Scale Uncertainty-Aware Network

Yinglin Zhang, Ruiling Xi, Huazhu Fu, Dave Towey, Rui Bin Bai, Risa Higashita, Jiang Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Robust and accurate segmentation for elongated physiological structures is challenging, especially in the ambiguous region, such as the corneal endothelium microscope image with uneven illumination or the fundus image with disease interference. In this paper, we present a spatial and scale uncertainty-aware network (SSU-Net) that fully uses both spatial and scale uncertainty to highlight ambiguous regions and integrate hierarchical structure contexts. First, we estimate epistemic and aleatoric spatial uncertainty maps using Monte Carlo dropout to approximate Bayesian networks. Based on these spatial uncertainty maps, we propose the gated soft uncertainty-aware (GSUA) module to guide the model to focus on ambiguous regions. Second, we extract the uncertainty under different scales and propose the multi-scale uncertainty-aware (MSUA) fusion module to integrate structure contexts from hierarchical predictions, strengthening the final prediction. Finally, we visualize the uncertainty map of final prediction, providing interpretability for segmentation results. Experiment results show that the SSU-Net performs best on cornea endothelial cell and retinal vessel segmentation tasks. Moreover, compared with counterpart uncertainty-based methods, SSU-Net is more accurate and robust.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2023 - 26th International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsHayit Greenspan, Hayit Greenspan, Anant Madabhushi, Parvin Mousavi, Septimiu Salcudean, James Duncan, Tanveer Syeda-Mahmood, Russell Taylor
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783031439001
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event26th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2023 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 8 Oct 202312 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume14223 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference26th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2023


  • Deep Learning
  • Elongated Physiological Structure
  • Medical Image Segmentation
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Elongated Physiological Structure Segmentation via Spatial and Scale Uncertainty-Aware Network'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this