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Ambiguous Medical Image Segmentation Using Diffusion Models

Aimon Rahman · Jeya Maria Jose Valanarasu · Ilker Hacihaliloglu · Vishal M. Patel

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 315


Collective insights from a group of experts have always proven to outperform an individual’s best diagnostic for clinical tasks. For the task of medical image segmentation, existing research on AI-based alternatives focuses more on developing models that can imitate the best individual rather than harnessing the power of expert groups. In this paper, we introduce a single diffusion model-based approach that produces multiple plausible outputs by learning a distribution over group insights. Our proposed model generates a distribution of segmentation masks by leveraging the inherent stochastic sampling process of diffusion using only minimal additional learning. We demonstrate on three different medical image modalities- CT, ultrasound, and MRI that our model is capable of producing several possible variants while capturing the frequencies of their occurrences. Comprehensive results show that our proposed approach outperforms existing state-of-the-art ambiguous segmentation networks in terms of accuracy while preserving naturally occurring variation. We also propose a new metric to evaluate the diversity as well as the accuracy of segmentation predictions that aligns with the interest of clinical practice of collective insights. Implementation code will be released publicly after the review process.

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