Journal of Biomedical OpticsOptical coherence tomography image denoising using Gaussianization transform
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We demonstrate the power of the Gaussianization transform (GT) for modeling image content by applying GT for optical coherence tomography (OCT) denoising. The proposed method is a developed version of the spatially constrained Gaussian mixture model (SC-GMM) method, which assumes that each cluster of similar patches in an image has a Gaussian distribution. SC-GMM tries to find some clusters of similar patches in the image using a spatially constrained patch clustering and then denoise each cluster by the Wiener filter. Although in this method GMM distribution is assumed for the noisy image, holding this assumption on a dataset is not investigated. We illustrate that making a Gaussian assumption on a noisy dataset has a significant effect on denoising results. For this purpose, a suitable distribution for OCT images is first obtained and then GT is employed to map this original distribution of OCT images to a GMM distribution. Then, this Gaussianized image is used as the input of the SC-GMM algorithm. This method, which is a combination of GT and SC-GMM, remarkably improves the results of OCT denoising compared with earlier version of SC-GMM and even produces better visual and numerical results than the state-of-the art works in this field. Indeed, the main advantage of the proposed OCT despeckling method is texture preservation, which is important for main image processing tasks like OCT inter- and intraretinal layer analysis. Thus, to prove the efficacy of the proposed method for this analysis, an improvement in the segmentation of intraretinal layers using the proposed method as a preprocessing step is investigated. Furthermore, the proposed method can achieve the best expert ranking between other contending methods, and the results show the helpfulness and usefulness of the proposed method in clinical applications.