Temporomandibular disorders are typically accompanied by a number of clinical manifestations that involve pain and dysfunction of the masticatory muscles and temporomandibular joint. The most important subgroup of articular abnormalities in patients with temporomandibular disorders includes patients with different forms of articular disc displacement and deformation. Here, we propose a fully automated articular disc detection and segmentation system to support the diagnosis of temporomandibular disorder on magnetic resonance imaging. This system uses deep learning-based semantic segmentation approaches. The study included a total of 217 magnetic resonance images from 10 patients with anterior displacement of the articular disc and 10 healthy control subjects with normal articular discs. These images were used to evaluate three deep learning-based semantic segmentation approaches: our proposed convolutional neural network encoder-decoder named 3DiscNet (Detection for Displaced articular DISC using convolutional neural NETwork), U-Net, and SegNet-Basic. Of the three algorithms, 3DiscNet and SegNet-Basic showed comparably good metrics (Dice coefficient, sensitivity, and positive predictive value). This study provides a proof-of-concept for a fully automated deep learning-based segmentation methodology for articular discs on magnetic resonance images, and obtained promising initial results, indicating that the method could potentially be used in clinical practice for the assessment of temporomandibular disorders.
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