This paper proposes a new algorithm for automatic estimation of muscle fiber orientation (MFO) in musculoskeletal ultrasound images, which is commonly used for both diagnosis and rehabilitation assessment of patients. The algorithm is based on a novel adaptive fading Bayesian Kalman filter (AF-BKF) and an automatic region of interest (ROI) extraction method. The ROI is firstly enhanced by the Gabor filter (GF) and extracted automatically using the revoting constrained Radon transform(RCRT) approach. The dominant MFO in the ROI is then detected by the RT and tracked by the proposed AF-BKF, which employs simplified Gaussian mixtures to approximate the non-Gaussian state densities and a new adaptive fading method to update the mixture parameters. An AF-BK Smoother (AF-BKS)is also proposed by extending the AF-BKF using the concept of Rauch-Tung-Striebel Smoother for further smoothing the fascicle orientations. Experimental results and comparisons show that:1) The maximum segmentation error of the proposed RCRT is below 9 pixels, which is sufficiently small for MFO tracking.2) The accuracy of MFO gauged by RT in the ROI enhanced by the GF is comparable to that of using multi scale vessel enhancement filter-based method and better than those of localRT and revoting Hough transform approaches. 3) The proposed AF-BKS algorithm outperforms the other tested approaches, and achieves a performance close to those obtained by experienced operators (the overall covariance obtained by the AF-BKS is3.19, which is rather close to that of the operators, 2.86). It thus serves as a valuable tool for automatic estimation of fascicle orientations and possibly other applications in musculoskeletalultrasound images.
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