Performance metrics for medical image segmentation models are used to measure the agreement between the reference annotation and the predicted segmentation. Usually, overlap metrics, such as the Dice, are used as a metric to evaluate the performance of these models in order for results to be comparable. However, there is a mismatch between the distributions of cases and the difficulty level of segmentation tasks in public data sets compared to clinical practice. Common metrics used to assess performance fail to capture the impact of this mismatch, particularly when dealing with datasets in clinical settings that involve challenging segmentation tasks, pathologies with low signal, and reference annotations that are uncertain, small, or empty. Limitations of common metrics may result in ineffective machine learning research in designing and optimizing models. To effectively evaluate the clinical value of such models, it is essential to consider factors such as the uncertainty associated with reference annotations, the ability to accurately measure performance regardless of the size of the reference annotation volume, and the classification of cases where reference annotations are empty. We study how uncertain, small, and empty reference annotations influence the value of metrics on a stroke in-house data set regardless of the model. We examine metrics behavior on the predictions of a standard deep learning framework in order to identify suitable metrics in such a setting. We compare our results to the BRATS 2019 and Spinal Cord public data sets. We show how uncertain, small, or empty reference annotations require a rethinking of the evaluation. The evaluation code was released to encourage further analysis of this topic https://github.com/SophieOstmeier/UncertainSmallEmpty.git.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.media.2023.102927
View details for PubMedID 37672900