Medical X-ray Image Hierarchical Classification Using a Merging and Splitting Scheme in Feature Space

Nooshin Jafari Fesharaki, Hossein Pourghassem



Abstract— Due to the daily mass production and the widespread variation of medical X-ray images, it is necessary to classify these for searching and retrieving proposes, especially for content-based medical image retrieval systems. In this paper, a medical X-ray image hierarchical classification structure based on a novel merging and splitting scheme and using shape and texture features is proposed. In the first level of the proposed structure, to improve the classification performance, similar classes with regard to shape contents are grouped based on merging measures and shape features into the general overlapped classes. In the next levels of this structure, the overlapped classes split in smaller classes based on the classification performance of combination of shape and texture features or texture features only. Ultimately, in the last levels, this procedure is also continued forming all the classes, separately. Moreover, to optimize the feature vector in the proposed structure, we use orthogonal forward selection algorithm according to Mahalanobis class separability measure as a feature selection and reduction algorithm. In other words, according to the complexity and inter-class distance of each class, a sub-space of the feature space is selected in each level and then a supervised merging and splitting scheme is applied to form the hierarchical classification. The proposed structure is evaluated on a database consisting of 2158 medical X-ray images of 18 classes (IMAGECLEF 2005 database) and accuracy rate of 93.6% in the last level of the hierarchical structure for an 18-class classification problem is obtained.


Hierarchical classification; merging and splitting scheme; orthogonal forward selection; shape and texture features

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