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Semi-automatic and fully automatic contouring tools have emerged as an alternative to fully manual segmentation to reduce time spent contouring and to increase contour quality and consistency. Particularly, fully automatic segmentation has seen exceptional improvements through the use of deep learning in recent years. These fully automatic methods may not require user interactions, but the resulting contours are often not suitable to be used in clinical practice without a review by the clinician. Furthermore, they need large amounts of labeled data to be available for training. This review presents alternatives to manual or fully automatic segmentation methods along the spectrum of variable user interactivity and data availability. The challenge lies to determine how much user interaction is necessary and how this user interaction can be used most effectively. While deep learning is already widely used for fully automatic tools, interactive methods are just at the starting point to be transformed by it. Interaction between clinician and machine, via artificial intelligence, can go both ways and this review will present the avenues that are being pursued to improve medical image segmentation.

Original publication




Journal article


Phys med biol

Publication Date



automatic, deep learning, few-shot, interactive, medical image segmentation, semi-automatic, transfer learning