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In this study an approach to impulse noise removal is presented. The introduced algorithm is a switching filter which identifies the noisy pixels and then corrects them by using median filter. In order to identify pixels corrupted by noise an analysis of local intensity extrema is applied. Comprehensive analysis of the algorithm performance [in terms of peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) and Structural SIMilarity (SSIM) index] is presented. Results obtained on wide range of noise corruption (up to 98%) are shown and discussed. Moreover, comparison with well-established methods for impulse noise removal is provided. Presented results reveal that the proposed algorithm outperforms other approaches to impulse noise removal and its performance is close to ideal switching median filter. For high noise densities, the method correctly detects up to 100% of noisy pixels.