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BACKGROUND: Despite knowledge of qualitative changes that occur on ultrasound in tendinopathy, there is currently no objective and reliable means to quantify the severity or prognosis of tendinopathy on ultrasound. OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study is to produce a quantitative and automated means of inferring potential structural changes in tendinopathy by developing and implementing an algorithm which performs a texture based segmentation of tendon ultrasound (US) images. METHOD: A model-based segmentation approach is used which combines Gaussian mixture models, Markov random field theory and grey-level co-occurrence (GLCM) features. The algorithm is trained and tested on 49 longitudinal B-mode ultrasound images of the Achilles tendons which are labelled as tendinopathic (24) or healthy (25). Hyperparameters are tuned, using a training set of 25 images, to optimise a decision tree based classification of the images from texture class proportions. We segment and classify the remaining test images using the decision tree. RESULTS: Our approach successfully detects a difference in the texture profiles of tendinopathic and healthy tendons, with 22/24 of the test images accurately classified based on a simple texture proportion cut-off threshold. Results for the tendinopathic images are also collated to gain insight into the topology of structural changes that occur with tendinopathy. It is evident that distinct textures, which are predominantly present in tendinopathic tendons, appear most commonly near the transverse boundary of the tendon, though there was a large variability among diseased tendons. CONCLUSION: The GLCM based segmentation of tendons under ultrasound resulted in distinct segmentations between healthy and tendinopathic tendons and provides a potential tool to objectively quantify damage in tendinopathy.

Original publication




Journal article


Comput Biol Med

Publication Date





Co-occurrence matrix, Expectation–maximisation algorithms, Gaussian mixture model, Image segmentation, Markov random field, Tendon, Humans, Achilles Tendon, Tendinopathy, Ultrasonography, Algorithms