Self-Paced Contrastive Learning for Semi-supervised Medical Image Segmentation with Meta-labels

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Jizong Peng, Ping Wang, Christian Desrosiers, Marco Pedersoli


The contrastive pre-training of a recognition model on a large dataset of unlabeled data often boosts the model’s performance on downstream tasks like image classification. However, in domains such as medical imaging, collecting unlabeled data can be challenging and expensive. In this work, we consider the task of medical image segmentation and adapt contrastive learning with meta-label annotations to scenarios where no additional unlabeled data is available. Meta-labels, such as the location of a 2D slice in a 3D MRI scan, often come for free during the acquisition process. We use these meta-labels to pre-train the image encoder, as well as in a semi-supervised learning step that leverages a reduced set of annotated data. A self-paced learning strategy exploiting the weak annotations is proposed to furtherhelp the learning process and discriminate useful labels from noise. Results on five medical image segmentation datasets show that our approach: i) highly boosts the performance of a model trained on a few scans, ii) outperforms previous contrastive and semi-supervised approaches, and iii) reaches close to the performance of a model trained on the full data.