Clinical evaluation of a phantom-based deep convolutional neural network for whole-body-low-dose and ultra-low-dose CT skeletal surveys

Nathan Huber, Tara Anderson, Andrew Missert, Mark Adkins, Shuai Leng, Joel Fletcher, Cynthia McCollough, Lifeng Yu, Katrina N. Glazebrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study evaluated the clinical utility of a phantom-based convolutional neural network noise reduction framework for whole-body-low-dose CT skeletal surveys. Materials and methods: The CT exams of ten patients with multiple myeloma were retrospectively analyzed. Exams were acquired with routine whole-body-low-dose CT protocol and projection noise insertion was used to simulate 25% dose exams. Images were reconstructed with either iterative reconstruction or filtered back projection with convolutional neural network post-processing. Diagnostic quality and structure visualization were blindly rated (subjective scale ranging from 0 [poor] to 100 [excellent]) by three musculoskeletal radiologists for iterative reconstruction and convolutional neural network images at routine whole-body-low-dose and 25% dose CT. Results: For the diagnostic quality rating, the convolutional neural network outscored iterative reconstruction at routine whole-body-low-dose CT (convolutional neural network: 95 ± 5, iterative reconstruction: 85 ± 8) and at the 25% dose level (convolutional neural network: 79 ± 10, iterative reconstruction: 22 ± 13). Convolutional neural network applied to 25% dose was rated inferior to iterative reconstruction applied to routine dose. Similar trends were observed in rating experiments focusing on structure visualization. Conclusion: Results indicate that the phantom-based convolutional neural network noise reduction framework can improve visualization of critical structures within CT skeletal surveys. At matched dose level, the convolutional neural network outscored iterative reconstruction for all conditions studied. The image quality improvement of convolutional neural network applied to 25% dose indicates a potential for dose reduction; however, the 75% dose reduction condition studied is not currently recommended for clinical implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSkeletal Radiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Convolutional neural network
  • Deep learning
  • Noise reduction
  • Skeletal survey
  • Whole-body-low-dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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