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Bronchiolar obstruction is commonly manifested in computed tomography (CT) images as areas of decreased attenuation relative to adjacent normal lung parenchyma. The certain identification of such areas is difficult in practice, particularly if they are poorly marginated. This paper presents a novel approach to the enhancement of feature differences between normal and diseased lung parenchyma so that reliable visual assessment can be made. The method relies on a hybrid structural filtering technique which removes pulmonary vessels appearing in the CT cross-sectional images without affecting intrinsic subtle intensity details of the lung parenchyma. In order to restore possible structural distortions introduced by the hybrid filter, a feature localization process based on wavelet reconstruction of feature extrema is used. After contrast enhancement the resultant images are used to delineate region borders of the diseased areas and quantification is made with regard to the extent of the disease.
Date of Publication: Dec. 1997