BTS-DSN: Deeply Supervised Neural Network with Short Connections for Retinal Vessel Segmentation

Song Guo, Kai Wang, Hong Kang, Yujun Zhang, Yingqi Gao, Tao Li

Background and Objective: The condition of vessel of the human eye is an important factor for the diagnosis of ophthalmological diseases. Vessel segmentation in fundus images is a challenging task due to complex vessel structure, the presence of similar structures such as microaneurysms and hemorrhages, micro-vessel with only one to several pixels wide, and requirements for finer results. Methods:In this paper, we present a multi-scale deeply supervised network with short connections (BTS-DSN) for vessel segmentation. We used short connections to transfer semantic information between side-output layers. Bottom-top short connections pass low level semantic information to high level for refining results in high-level side-outputs, and top-bottom short connection passes much structural information to low level for reducing noises in low-level side-outputs. In addition, we employ cross-training to show that our model is suitable for real world fundus images. Results: The proposed BTS-DSN has been verified on DRIVE, STARE and CHASE_DB1 datasets, and showed competitive performance over other state-of-the-art methods. Specially, with patch level input, the network achieved 0.7891/0.8212 sensitivity, 0.9804/0.9843 specificity, 0.9806/0.9859 AUC, and 0.8249/0.8421 F1-score on DRIVE and STARE, respectively. Moreover, our model behaves better than other methods in cross-training experiments. Conclusions: BTS-DSN achieves competitive performance in vessel segmentation task on three public datasets. It is suitable for vessel segmentation. The source code of our method is available at

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