Mutual Information-Based Non-Local Total Variation Denoiser for Low-Dose Cone-Beam Computed Tomography

Ho Lee, Jiwon Sung, Yeonho Choi, Jun Won Kim, Ik Jae Lee
<span title="2021-10-21">2021</span> <i title="Frontiers Media SA"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Frontiers in Oncology</a> </i> &nbsp;
Conventional non-local total variation (NLTV) approaches use the weight of a non-local means (NLM) filter, which degrades performance in low-dose cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) images generated with a low milliampere-seconds (mAs) parameter value because a local patch used to determine the pixel weights comprises noisy-damaged pixels that reduce the similarity between corresponding patches. In this paper, we propose a novel type of NLTV based on a combination of mutual information (MI):
more &raquo; ... -NLTV. It is based on a statistical measure for a similarity calculation between the corresponding bins of non-local patches vs. a reference patch. The weight is determined in terms of a statistical measure comprising the MI value between corresponding non-local patches and the reference-patch entropy. The MI-NLTV denoising process is applied to CBCT images generated by the analytical reconstruction algorithm using a ray-driven backprojector (RDB). The MI-NLTV objective function is minimized based on the steepest gradient descent optimization to augment the difference between a real structure and noise, cleaning noisy pixels without significant loss of the fine structure and details that remain in the reconstructed images. The proposed method was evaluated using patient data and actual phantom measurement data acquired with lower mAs. The results show that integrating the RDB further enhances the MI-NLTV denoising-based analytical reconstruction algorithm to achieve a higher CBCT image quality when compared with those generated by NLTV denoising-based approach, with an average of 15.97% higher contrast-to-noise ratio, 2.67% lower root mean square error, 0.12% lower spatial non-uniformity, 1.14% higher correlation, and an average of 18.11% higher detectability index. These quantitative results indicate that the incorporation of MI makes the NLTV more stable and robust than the conventional NLM filter for low-dose CBCT imaging. In addition, achieving clinically acceptable CBCT image quality despite low-mAs projection acquisition can reduce the burden on common online CBCT imaging, improving patient safety throughout the course of radiotherapy.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.3389/fonc.2021.751057</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmid:34745978</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmcid:PMC8567105</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:476qa2kiqbeadir3fz3o6nlcsy</a> </span>
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