Reticular pattern detection in dermoscopy: an approach using Curvelet Transform

Abstract Introduction Dermoscopy is a non-invasive in vivo imaging technique, used in dermatology in feature identification, among pigmented melanocytic neoplasms, from suspicious skin lesions. Often, in the skin exam is possible to ascertain markers, whose identification and proper characterization is difficult, even when it is used a magnifying lens and a source of light. Dermoscopic images are thus a challenging source of a wide range of digital features, frequently with clinical correlation. Among these markers, one of particular interest to diagnosis in skin evaluation is the reticular pattern. Methods This paper presents a novel approach (avoiding pre-processing, e.g. segmentation and filtering) for reticular pattern detection in dermoscopic images, using texture spectral analysis. The proposed methodology involves a Curvelet Transform procedure to identify features. Results Feature extraction is applied to identify a set of discriminant characteristics in the reticular pattern, and it is also employed in the automatic classification task. The results obtained are encouraging, presenting Sensitivity and Specificity of 82.35% and 76.79%, respectively. Conclusions These results highlight the use of automatic classification, in the context of artificial intelligence, within a computer-aided diagnosis strategy, as a strong tool to help the human decision making task in clinical practice. Moreover, the results were obtained using images from three different sources, without previous lesion segmentation, achieving to a rapid, robust and low complexity methodology. These properties boost the presented approach to be easily used in clinical practice as an aid to the diagnostic process.