Automatic classification of distal radius fracture using a two-stage ensemble deep learning framework

Publication Name

Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine


Distal radius fractures (DRFs) are one of the most common types of wrist fracture and can be subdivided into intra- and extra-articular fractures. Compared with extra-articular DRFs which spare the joint surface, intra-articular DRFs extend to the articular surface and can be more difficult to treat. Identification of articular involvement can provide valuable information about the characteristics of fracture patterns. In this study, a two-stage ensemble deep learning framework was proposed to differentiate intra- and extra-articular DRFs automatically on posteroanterior (PA) view wrist X-rays. The framework firstly detects the distal radius region of interest (ROI) using an ensemble model of YOLOv5 networks, which imitates the clinicians’ search pattern of zooming in on relevant regions to assess abnormalities. Secondly, an ensemble model of EfficientNet-B3 networks classifies the fractures in the detected ROIs into intra- and extra-articular. The framework achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.82, an accuracy of 0.81, a true positive rate of 0.83 and a false positive rate of 0.27 (specificity of 0.73) for differentiating intra- from extra-articular DRFs. This study has demonstrated the potential in automatic DRF characterization using deep learning on clinically acquired wrist radiographs and can serve as a baseline for further research in incorporating multi-view information for fracture classification.

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