A Simple Method for Automatically Locating the Nipple on Mammograms

Ramachandran Chandrasekhar, Y. Attikiouzel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper outlines a simple, fast, and accurate method for automatically locating the nipple on digitized mammograms that have been segmented to reveal the skin-air interface, If the average gradient of the intensity is computed in the direction normal to the interface and directed inside the breast, it is found that there is a sudden and distinct change in this parameter close to the nipple, A nipple in profile is located between two successive maxima of this parameter; otherwise, it is near the global maximum, Specifically, the nipple is located midway between a successive maximum and minimum of the derivative of the average intensity gradient; these being local turning points for a nipple in profile and global otherwise. The method has been tested on 24 images, including both oblique and cranio-caudal views, from two digital mammogram databases, For 23 of the images (96%), the rms error was less than 1 mm at image resolutions of 400 mu m and 420 mu m per pixel, Because of its simplicity, and because it is based both on the observed behavior of mammographic tissue intensities and on geometry, this method has the potential to become a generic method for locating the nipple on mammograms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)483-494
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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