Medical image categorization and retrieval for PACS using the GMM-KL framework

Hayit Greenspan, Adi T. Pinhas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


This paper presents an image representation and matching framework for image categorization in medical image archives. Categorization enables one to determine automatically, based on the image content, the examined body region and imaging modality. It is a basic step in content-based image retrieval (CBIR) systems, the goal of which is to augment text-based search with visual information analysis. CBIR systems are currently being integrated with picture archiving and communication systems for increasing the overall search capabilities and tools available to radiologists. The proposed methodology is comprised of a continuous and probabilistic image representation scheme using Gaussian mixture modeling (GMM) along with information-theoretic image matching via the Kullback-Leibler (KL) measure. The GMM-KL framework is used for matching and categorizing X-ray images by body regions. A multidimensional feature space is used to represent the image input, including intensity, texture, and spatial information. Unsupervised clustering via the GMM is used to extract coherent regions in feature space that are then used in the matching process. A dominant characteristic of the radiological images is their poor contrast and large intensity variations. This presents a challenge to matching among the images, and is handled via an illumination-invariant representation. The GMM-KL framework is evaluated for image categorization and image retrieval on a dataset of 1500 radiological images. A classification rate of 97.5% was achieved. The classification results compare favorably with reported global and local representation schemes. Precision versus recall curves indicate a strong retrieval result as compared with other state-of-the-art retrieval techniques. Finally, category models are learned and results are presented for comparing images to learned category models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-202
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Content-based image retrieval (CBIR)
  • Image matching
  • Medical content retrieval
  • Medical image categorization
  • Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS)
  • Statistical medical image modeling
  • X-ray image analysis


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