Image analysis based on an optical model of the skin for detection of early signs of melanoma

Supported by EPSRC research grant No GR/M53035


Collaborating institutions


This research is concerned with the characterisation of pigmented skin lesions in the context of early diagnosis of malignant melanoma. The goal is to improve the diagnostic accuracy beyond that currently attainable through routine clinical examination and through existing image analysis methods.

A new skin image analysis method developed by our group generates parametric images characterising skin structure and composition. A critical novelty of the method is that it exploits physics of image formation and uses an optical model of the skin to interpret the colours occurring in a lesion image in terms of lesion histology. Information contained in the parametric images computed through the use of the model complements that available in direct images, whether examined visually or by conventional image analysis. It is thus likely to help in lesion discrimination.

Quantitative measures derived from the parametric images will characterise the amount, location and distribution of melanin and blood and the architectural distortions induced by lesions, including the presence of melanin in the dermis often associated with malignant melanoma.

Experimental validation on a large image database will establish whether the data provided by the new image analysis method improves diagnosis of early melanoma.



See examples of diagnostic images produced by the new technique.

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