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Three-dimensional edge-preserving image enhancement for computed tomography

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4 Author(s)
N. Villain ; Biomed. Eng. Inst., Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Que., Canada ; Y. Goussard ; J. Idier ; M. Allain

Computed tomography (CT) images exhibit a variable amount of noise and blur, depending on the physical characteristics of the apparatus and the selected reconstruction method. Standard algorithms tend to favor reconstruction speed over resolution, thereby jeopardizing applications where accuracy is critical. In this paper, we propose to enhance CT images by applying half-quadratic edge-preserving image restoration (or deconvolution) to them. This approach may be used with virtually any CT scanner, provided the overall point-spread function can be roughly estimated. In image restoration, Markov random fields (MRFs) have proven to be very flexible a priori models and to yield impressive results with edge-preserving penalization, but their implementation in clinical routine is limited because they are often viewed as complex and time consuming. For these practical reasons, we focused on numerical efficiency and developed a fast implementation based on a simple three-dimensional MRF model with convex edge-preserving potentials. The resulting restoration method provides good recovery of sharp discontinuities while using convex duality principles yields fairly simple implementation of the optimization. Further reduction of the computational load can be achieved if the point-spread function is assumed to be separable. Synthetic and real data experiments indicate that the method provides significant improvements over standard reconstruction techniques and compares well with convex-potential Markov-based reconstruction, while being more flexible and numerically efficient.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 10 )