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Frequency decomposition and compounding of ultrasound medical images with wavelet packets

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3 Author(s)
G. Cincotti ; Dipt. di Elettronica, Rome Univ., Italy ; G. Loi ; M. Pappalardo

Ultrasound beams propagating in biological tissues undergo distortions due to local inhomogeneities of the acoustic parameters and the nonlinearity of the medium. The spectral analysis of the radio-frequency (RF) backscattered signals may yield important clinical information in the field of tissue characterization, as well as enhancing the detectability of tissue parenchymal diseases. Here, the authors propose a new tissue spectral imaging technique based on the wavelet packets (WP) decomposition. In a conventional ultrasound imaging system, the received echo-signals are generally decimated to generate a medical image, with a loss of information. With the proposed approach, all the RF data are processed to generate a set of frequency subband images. The ultrasound echo signals are simultaneously frequency decomposed and decimated, by using two quadrature mirror filters, followed by a dyadic subsampling. In addition, to enhance the lesion detectability and the image quality, the authors apply a nonlinear filter to reduce noise in each subband image. The proposed method requires simple additional signal processing and it can be implemented on any real-time imaging system. The frequency subband images, which are available simultaneously, can be either used in a multispectral display or summed up together to reduce speckle noise. To localize the different frequency response in the tissues, the authors propose a multifrequency display method where 3 different subband images, chosen among those available, are encoded as red, green, and blue intensities (RGB) to create a false-colored RGB image. According to the clinical application, different choices can evidence different spectral proprieties in the biological tissue under investigation. To enhance the lesion contrast in a grey-level image, one of the possible methods is the summation of the images obtained from narrow frequency subbands, according to the frequency compounding technique. The authors show that by adding t- - he denoised subband images created with the WP decomposition, the contrast-to-noise ratio in 2 phantom images is largely increased.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 8 )