Automatic sentinel lymph node localization in head and neck cancer using a coupled shape model algorithm
The localization and analysis of the sentinel lymph node for patients diagnosed with cancer, has significant influence on the prognosis, outcome and treatment of the disease. We present a fully automatic approach to localize the sentinel lymph node and additional active nodes and determine their lymph node level on SPECT-CT data. This is a crucial prerequisite for the planning of radiation therapy or a surgical neck dissection. Our approach was evaluated on 17 lymph nodes. The detection rate of the lymph nodes was 94%; and 88% of the lymph nodes were correctly assigned to their corresponding lymph node level. The proposed algorithm targets a very important topic in clinical practice. The first results are already very promising. The next step has to be the evaluation on a larger data set.