Finger Joint Characterization

Computer vision techniques for characterization of finger joints in X-ray images

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory type of arthritis which mainly affects hands on its first stages. Though it is a chronic disease and there is no cure for it, treatments require an accurate assessment of illness evolution. Such assessment is based on evaluation of hand X-ray images by using one of the several available semi-quantitative methods. This task requires highly trained medical personnel. That is why the automation of the assessment would allow professionals to save time andeffort.

Two stages are involved in this task. Firstly, the joint detection, afterwards, the joint characterization. Unlike the little existing previous work, this contribution clearly separates those two stages and sets the foundations of a modular assessment system focusing on the characterization stage. A hand joint dataset is created and an accurate data analysis is achieved in order to identify relevant features.

Since the sclerosis and the lower bone were decided to be the most important features, different computer vision techniques were used in order to develop a detector system for both of them. Joint space width measures are provided and their correlation with Sharp-Van der Heijde are verified.