Published on Fri Sep 17 2021

Asymmetric 3D Context Fusion for Universal Lesion Detection

Jiancheng Yang, Yi He, Kaiming Kuang, Zudi Lin, Hanspeter Pfister, Bingbing Ni

Modeling 3D context is essential for high-performance 3D medical image analysis. 2D networks benefit from large-scale 2D supervised pretraining, but it is weak in capturing 3Dcontext. Existing 3D contexts fusion operators are designed to be spatially symmetric.

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Abstract

Modeling 3D context is essential for high-performance 3D medical image analysis. Although 2D networks benefit from large-scale 2D supervised pretraining, it is weak in capturing 3D context. 3D networks are strong in 3D context yet lack supervised pretraining. As an emerging technique, \emph{3D context fusion operator}, which enables conversion from 2D pretrained networks, leverages the advantages of both and has achieved great success. Existing 3D context fusion operators are designed to be spatially symmetric, i.e., performing identical operations on each 2D slice like convolutions. However, these operators are not truly equivariant to translation, especially when only a few 3D slices are used as inputs. In this paper, we propose a novel asymmetric 3D context fusion operator (A3D), which uses different weights to fuse 3D context from different 2D slices. Notably, A3D is NOT translation-equivariant while it significantly outperforms existing symmetric context fusion operators without introducing large computational overhead. We validate the effectiveness of the proposed method by extensive experiments on DeepLesion benchmark, a large-scale public dataset for universal lesion detection from computed tomography (CT). The proposed A3D consistently outperforms symmetric context fusion operators by considerable margins, and establishes a new \emph{state of the art} on DeepLesion. To facilitate open research, our code and model in PyTorch are available at https://github.com/M3DV/AlignShift.