Automated polyp detection at CT colonography: Feasibility assessment in a human population

R. M. Summers, C. D. Johnson, L. M. Pusanik, J. D. Malley, A. M. Youssef, J. E. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To test the feasibility of and improve a computer algorithm to automatically detect colonic polyps in real human computed tomographic (CT) colonographic data sets. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty patients with known polyps underwent CT colonography in the supine position. CT colonographic data were processed by using a shape-based algorithm that depicts masses that protrude into the lumen. We studied nine shape criteria and three isosurface threshold settings. Results were compared with those of conventional colonoscopy performed the same day. RESULTS: There were 50 polyps (28 were ≥10 mm in size; 12, 5-9 mm; 10, <5 mm). The sensitivity with optimal settings for detecting polyps 10 mm or greater was 64% (18 of 28). Sensitivity improved to 71% (10 of 14) for polyps 10 mm or greater in well-distended colonic segments. Performance decreased for polyps less than 10 mm, poorly distended colonic segments, and other shape algorithms. There was a mean of six false-positive lesion sites per colon. These sites were reduced 39% to 3.5 per colon by sampling CT attenuation at the lesion site and discarding sites having attenuation less than a threshold. CONCLUSION: Automated detection of colonic polyps, especially clinically important large polyps, is feasible. Colonic distention is an important determinant of sensitivity. Further increases in sensitivity may be achieved by adding prone CT colonography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Colon neoplasms, diagnosis, 75.12115, 75.12119, 75.1282, 75.311
  • Colon, CT, 75.12115, 75.12119, 75.1282
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Computed tomography (CT), Computer programs
  • Computed tomography (CT), Image processing
  • Three-dimensional, 75.12117

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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