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Proceedings Paper

Statistically based spatially adaptive noise reduction of planar nuclear studies
Author(s): A. Hans Vija; Timothy R. Gosnell; Amos Yahil; Eric G. Hawman; John C. Engdahl
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Paper Abstract

The data-driven Pixon noise-reduction method is applied to nuclear studies. By using the local information content, it preserves all statistically justifiable image features without generating artifacts. Statistical measures provide the user a feedback to judge if the processing parameters are optimal. The present work focuses on planar nuclear images with known Poisson noise characteristics. Its ultimate goals are to: (a) increase sensitivity for detection of lesions of small size and/or of small activity-to-background ratio, (b) reduce data acquisition time, and (c) reduce patient dose. Data are acquired using Data Spectrum’s cylinder phantom in two configurations: (a) with hot and cold rod inserts at varying total counts and (b) with hot sphere inserts at varying activity-to-background ratios. We show that the method adapts automatically to both hot and cold lesions, concentration ratios, and different noise levels and structure dimensions. In clinical applications, slight adjustment of the parameters may be needed to adapt to the specific clinical protocols and physician preference. Visually, the processed images are comparable to raw images with ~16 times as many counts, and quantitatively the reduced noise equals that obtained with ~50 times as many counts. We also show that the Pixon method allows for identification of spheres at low concentration ratios, where raw planar imaging fails and matched filtering underperforms. Conclusion: The Pixon method significantly improves the image quality of data at either reduced count levels, or low target-to-background ratios. An analysis of clinical studies is now warranted to assess the clinical impact of the method.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5747, Medical Imaging 2005: Image Processing, (29 April 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.595679
Show Author Affiliations
A. Hans Vija, Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. (United States)
Timothy R. Gosnell, Pixon LLC (United States)
Amos Yahil, Pixon LLC (United States)
Eric G. Hawman, Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. (United States)
John C. Engdahl, Bradley Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5747:
Medical Imaging 2005: Image Processing
J. Michael Fitzpatrick; Joseph M. Reinhardt, Editor(s)

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