The diagnostic value of ultrasound images may be limited by the presence of artefacts, notably acoustic shadows, lack of contrast and localised signal dropout. Some of these artefacts are dependent on probe orientation and scan technique, with each image giving a distinct, partial view of the imaged anatomy. In this work, we propose a novel method to fuse the partially imaged fetal head anatomy, acquired from numerous views, into a single coherent 3D volume of the full anatomy. Firstly, a stream of freehand 3D US images is acquired using a single probe, capturing as many different views of the head as possible. The imaged anatomy at each time-point is then independently aligned to a canonical pose using a recurrent spatial transformer network, making our approach robust to fast fetal and probe motion. Secondly, images are fused by averaging only the most consistent and salient features from all images, producing a more detailed compounding, while minimising artefacts. We evaluated our method quantitatively and qualitatively, using image quality metrics and expert ratings, yielding state of the art performance in terms of image quality and robustness to misalignments. Being online, fast and fully automated, our method shows promise for clinical use and deployment as a real-time tool in the fetal screening clinic, where it may enable unparallelled insight into the shape and structure of the face, skull and brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102793
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Early online date22 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Compounding
  • Deep learning
  • Fast
  • Fetal
  • Fusion
  • Laplacian pyramid
  • Multi view
  • Online
  • Pose
  • Registration
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Ultrasound
  • US

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