Adaptive nonlocal means filtering based on local noise level for CT denoising

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To develop and evaluate an image-domain noise reduction method based on a modified nonlocal means (NLM) algorithm that is adaptive to local noise level of CT images and to implement this method in a time frame consistent with clinical workflow. Methods: A computationally efficient technique for local noise estimation directly from CT images was developed. A forward projection, based on a 2D fan-beam approximation, was used to generate the projection data, with a noise model incorporating the effects of the bowtie filter and automatic exposure control. The noise propagation from projection data to images was analytically derived. The analytical noise map was validated using repeated scans of a phantom. A 3D NLM denoising algorithm was modified to adapt its denoising strength locally based on this noise map. The performance of this adaptive NLM filter was evaluated in phantom studies in terms of in-plane and cross-plane high-contrast spatial resolution, noise power spectrum (NPS), subjective low-contrast spatial resolution using the American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation phantom, and objective low-contrast spatial resolution using a channelized Hotelling model observer (CHO). Graphical processing units (GPU) implementation of this noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering were developed to meet demands of clinical workflow. Adaptive NLM was piloted on lower dose scans in clinical practice. Results: The local noise level estimation matches the noise distribution determined from multiple repetitive scans of a phantom, demonstrated by small variations in the ratio map between the analytical noise map and the one calculated from repeated scans. The phantom studies demonstrated that the adaptive NLM filter can reduce noise substantially without degrading the high-contrast spatial resolution, as illustrated by modulation transfer function and slice sensitivity profile results. The NPS results show that adaptive NLM denoising preserves the shape and peak frequency of the noise power spectrum better than commercial smoothing kernels, and indicate that the spatial resolution at low contrast levels is not significantly degraded. Both the subjective evaluation using the ACR phantom and the objective evaluation on a low-contrast detection task using a CHO model observer demonstrate an improvement on low-contrast performance. The GPU implementation can process and transfer 300 slice images within 5 min. On patient data, the adaptive NLM algorithm provides more effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume than standard NLM, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose. After a two week pilot study of lower dose CT urography and CT enterography exams, both GI and GU radiology groups elected to proceed with permanent implementation of adaptive NLM in their GI and GU CT practices. Conclusions: This work describes and validates a computationally efficient technique for noise map estimation directly from CT images, and an adaptive NLM filtering based on this noise map, on phantom and patient data. Both the noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering can be performed in times that allow integration with clinical workflow. The adaptive NLM algorithm provides effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011908
JournalMedical Physics
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Fingerprint

Noise
Workflow
Radiology
Radiation
Urography
Accreditation

Keywords

  • adaptive denoising
  • CT dose reduction
  • image denoising
  • noise estimation
  • nonlocal means filtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

Adaptive nonlocal means filtering based on local noise level for CT denoising. / Li, Zhoubo; Yu, Lifeng; Trazasko, Joshua D; Lake, David S.; Blezek, Daniel J.; Fletcher, Joel Garland; McCollough, Cynthia H; Manduca, Armando.

In: Medical Physics, Vol. 41, No. 1, 011908, 01.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4a9e33e86e1a4aecbf78dc88f9bdc525,
title = "Adaptive nonlocal means filtering based on local noise level for CT denoising",
abstract = "Purpose: To develop and evaluate an image-domain noise reduction method based on a modified nonlocal means (NLM) algorithm that is adaptive to local noise level of CT images and to implement this method in a time frame consistent with clinical workflow. Methods: A computationally efficient technique for local noise estimation directly from CT images was developed. A forward projection, based on a 2D fan-beam approximation, was used to generate the projection data, with a noise model incorporating the effects of the bowtie filter and automatic exposure control. The noise propagation from projection data to images was analytically derived. The analytical noise map was validated using repeated scans of a phantom. A 3D NLM denoising algorithm was modified to adapt its denoising strength locally based on this noise map. The performance of this adaptive NLM filter was evaluated in phantom studies in terms of in-plane and cross-plane high-contrast spatial resolution, noise power spectrum (NPS), subjective low-contrast spatial resolution using the American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation phantom, and objective low-contrast spatial resolution using a channelized Hotelling model observer (CHO). Graphical processing units (GPU) implementation of this noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering were developed to meet demands of clinical workflow. Adaptive NLM was piloted on lower dose scans in clinical practice. Results: The local noise level estimation matches the noise distribution determined from multiple repetitive scans of a phantom, demonstrated by small variations in the ratio map between the analytical noise map and the one calculated from repeated scans. The phantom studies demonstrated that the adaptive NLM filter can reduce noise substantially without degrading the high-contrast spatial resolution, as illustrated by modulation transfer function and slice sensitivity profile results. The NPS results show that adaptive NLM denoising preserves the shape and peak frequency of the noise power spectrum better than commercial smoothing kernels, and indicate that the spatial resolution at low contrast levels is not significantly degraded. Both the subjective evaluation using the ACR phantom and the objective evaluation on a low-contrast detection task using a CHO model observer demonstrate an improvement on low-contrast performance. The GPU implementation can process and transfer 300 slice images within 5 min. On patient data, the adaptive NLM algorithm provides more effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume than standard NLM, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose. After a two week pilot study of lower dose CT urography and CT enterography exams, both GI and GU radiology groups elected to proceed with permanent implementation of adaptive NLM in their GI and GU CT practices. Conclusions: This work describes and validates a computationally efficient technique for noise map estimation directly from CT images, and an adaptive NLM filtering based on this noise map, on phantom and patient data. Both the noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering can be performed in times that allow integration with clinical workflow. The adaptive NLM algorithm provides effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose.",
keywords = "adaptive denoising, CT dose reduction, image denoising, noise estimation, nonlocal means filtering",
author = "Zhoubo Li and Lifeng Yu and Trazasko, {Joshua D} and Lake, {David S.} and Blezek, {Daniel J.} and Fletcher, {Joel Garland} and McCollough, {Cynthia H} and Armando Manduca",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1118/1.4851635",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "41",
journal = "Medical Physics",
issn = "0094-2405",
publisher = "AAPM - American Association of Physicists in Medicine",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Adaptive nonlocal means filtering based on local noise level for CT denoising

AU - Li, Zhoubo

AU - Yu, Lifeng

AU - Trazasko, Joshua D

AU - Lake, David S.

AU - Blezek, Daniel J.

AU - Fletcher, Joel Garland

AU - McCollough, Cynthia H

AU - Manduca, Armando

PY - 2014/1

Y1 - 2014/1

N2 - Purpose: To develop and evaluate an image-domain noise reduction method based on a modified nonlocal means (NLM) algorithm that is adaptive to local noise level of CT images and to implement this method in a time frame consistent with clinical workflow. Methods: A computationally efficient technique for local noise estimation directly from CT images was developed. A forward projection, based on a 2D fan-beam approximation, was used to generate the projection data, with a noise model incorporating the effects of the bowtie filter and automatic exposure control. The noise propagation from projection data to images was analytically derived. The analytical noise map was validated using repeated scans of a phantom. A 3D NLM denoising algorithm was modified to adapt its denoising strength locally based on this noise map. The performance of this adaptive NLM filter was evaluated in phantom studies in terms of in-plane and cross-plane high-contrast spatial resolution, noise power spectrum (NPS), subjective low-contrast spatial resolution using the American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation phantom, and objective low-contrast spatial resolution using a channelized Hotelling model observer (CHO). Graphical processing units (GPU) implementation of this noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering were developed to meet demands of clinical workflow. Adaptive NLM was piloted on lower dose scans in clinical practice. Results: The local noise level estimation matches the noise distribution determined from multiple repetitive scans of a phantom, demonstrated by small variations in the ratio map between the analytical noise map and the one calculated from repeated scans. The phantom studies demonstrated that the adaptive NLM filter can reduce noise substantially without degrading the high-contrast spatial resolution, as illustrated by modulation transfer function and slice sensitivity profile results. The NPS results show that adaptive NLM denoising preserves the shape and peak frequency of the noise power spectrum better than commercial smoothing kernels, and indicate that the spatial resolution at low contrast levels is not significantly degraded. Both the subjective evaluation using the ACR phantom and the objective evaluation on a low-contrast detection task using a CHO model observer demonstrate an improvement on low-contrast performance. The GPU implementation can process and transfer 300 slice images within 5 min. On patient data, the adaptive NLM algorithm provides more effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume than standard NLM, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose. After a two week pilot study of lower dose CT urography and CT enterography exams, both GI and GU radiology groups elected to proceed with permanent implementation of adaptive NLM in their GI and GU CT practices. Conclusions: This work describes and validates a computationally efficient technique for noise map estimation directly from CT images, and an adaptive NLM filtering based on this noise map, on phantom and patient data. Both the noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering can be performed in times that allow integration with clinical workflow. The adaptive NLM algorithm provides effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose.

AB - Purpose: To develop and evaluate an image-domain noise reduction method based on a modified nonlocal means (NLM) algorithm that is adaptive to local noise level of CT images and to implement this method in a time frame consistent with clinical workflow. Methods: A computationally efficient technique for local noise estimation directly from CT images was developed. A forward projection, based on a 2D fan-beam approximation, was used to generate the projection data, with a noise model incorporating the effects of the bowtie filter and automatic exposure control. The noise propagation from projection data to images was analytically derived. The analytical noise map was validated using repeated scans of a phantom. A 3D NLM denoising algorithm was modified to adapt its denoising strength locally based on this noise map. The performance of this adaptive NLM filter was evaluated in phantom studies in terms of in-plane and cross-plane high-contrast spatial resolution, noise power spectrum (NPS), subjective low-contrast spatial resolution using the American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation phantom, and objective low-contrast spatial resolution using a channelized Hotelling model observer (CHO). Graphical processing units (GPU) implementation of this noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering were developed to meet demands of clinical workflow. Adaptive NLM was piloted on lower dose scans in clinical practice. Results: The local noise level estimation matches the noise distribution determined from multiple repetitive scans of a phantom, demonstrated by small variations in the ratio map between the analytical noise map and the one calculated from repeated scans. The phantom studies demonstrated that the adaptive NLM filter can reduce noise substantially without degrading the high-contrast spatial resolution, as illustrated by modulation transfer function and slice sensitivity profile results. The NPS results show that adaptive NLM denoising preserves the shape and peak frequency of the noise power spectrum better than commercial smoothing kernels, and indicate that the spatial resolution at low contrast levels is not significantly degraded. Both the subjective evaluation using the ACR phantom and the objective evaluation on a low-contrast detection task using a CHO model observer demonstrate an improvement on low-contrast performance. The GPU implementation can process and transfer 300 slice images within 5 min. On patient data, the adaptive NLM algorithm provides more effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume than standard NLM, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose. After a two week pilot study of lower dose CT urography and CT enterography exams, both GI and GU radiology groups elected to proceed with permanent implementation of adaptive NLM in their GI and GU CT practices. Conclusions: This work describes and validates a computationally efficient technique for noise map estimation directly from CT images, and an adaptive NLM filtering based on this noise map, on phantom and patient data. Both the noise map calculation and the adaptive NLM filtering can be performed in times that allow integration with clinical workflow. The adaptive NLM algorithm provides effective denoising of CT data throughout a volume, and may allow significant lowering of radiation dose.

KW - adaptive denoising

KW - CT dose reduction

KW - image denoising

KW - noise estimation

KW - nonlocal means filtering

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84892166859&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84892166859&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1118/1.4851635

DO - 10.1118/1.4851635

M3 - Article

C2 - 24387516

AN - SCOPUS:84892166859

VL - 41

JO - Medical Physics

JF - Medical Physics

SN - 0094-2405

IS - 1

M1 - 011908

ER -