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Speckle in ultrasonic image systems adversely impacts the contrast and resolution in the image. This poses serious problems in the interpretation of B mode images of internal organs such as breast, liver, kidney and so on. In the absence of sufficient contrast, classifying the regions of interest into benign and malignant masses becomes error prone. Since some of the masses are uniquely identified in terms of the boundaries, poor contrast and resolution will result in difficulties with their identification. A new class of spatial filters based on cylindrical Bessel functions of the first kind is proposed for speckle reduction. These filters with complex impulse responses were explored for enhancing the contrast of speckled images. Hypothesising that the phase of the filtered image carries boundary information, the phase characteristics of four speckled images are also studied for detecting boundaries. Results indicate that these filters do improve the contrast and enhance the boundaries. It is shown that the phase map clearly indicates the existence of boundaries. A simple thresholding applied to the phase highlights the boundaries. The results show the strength of the Bessel spatial filters in improving contrast and highlighting boundaries without resorting to any additional edge-detection algorithms.