Main Article Content
Dermoscopy (dermatoscopy, epiluminescence microscopy) is a non-invasive diagnostic technique for the in vivo observation of pigmented skin lesions (PSLs). This diagnostic tool permits the recognition of morphologic structures not visible by the naked eye, thus opening a new dimension in the analysis of the clinical morphologic features of PSLs. Due to the difficulty and variability of human interpretation, computerized analysis of dermoscopy images has become an important research area in the last years. Recently, numerous systems designed to provide computer-aided analysis of digital images have been reported in literature. Content-based image retrieval systems (CBIR) technology exploits the visual content in image data. It has been proposed to benefit the management of increasingly large biomedical image collections as well as to aid clinical medicine, research and education. Goal of this article is to describe the application of CBIR systems for dermoscopic images, dealing in detail with the model created in our laboratory, named FIDE. Function of FIDE is to documenting the image analysis side of the diagnostic process, focusing on accompanying and aiding it and on providing efficient digital atlas navigation aiming both at providing precision (cases most similar to the one under analysis) and clarifying context (similar cases in different categories). The FIDE system is effective in retrieving PSL images with known pathology visually similar to the image under evaluation giving a valuable and intuitive aid to the clinician in the decision making process. FIDE represents, indeed, the first CBIR system successfully applied to dermoscopic images. The real impact in clinical practice of this system will be revealed only by its application in a wide clinical setting.
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