Denoising can be used as a tool to enhance image quality and enforce low radiation doses in X-ray medical imaging. The
effectiveness of denoising techniques relies on the validity of the underlying noise model. In full-field digital
mammography (FFDM) and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), calibration steps like the detector offset and flat-fielding
can affect some assumptions made by most denoising techniques. Furthermore, quantum noise found in X-ray
images is signal-dependent and can only be treated by specific filters. In this work we propose a pipeline for FFDM and
DBT image denoising that considers the calibration steps and simplifies the modeling of the noise statistics through
variance-stabilizing transformations (VST). The performance of a state-of-the-art denoising method was tested with and
without the proposed pipeline. To evaluate the method, objective metrics such as the normalized root mean square error
(N-RMSE), noise power spectrum, modulation transfer function (MTF) and the frequency signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)
were analyzed. Preliminary tests show that the pipeline improves denoising. When the pipeline is not used, bright pixels
of the denoised image are under-filtered and dark pixels are over-smoothed due to the assumption of a signal-independent
Gaussian model. The pipeline improved denoising up to 20% in terms of spatial N-RMSE and up to 15% in
terms of frequency SNR. Besides improving the denoising, the pipeline does not increase signal smoothing significantly,
as shown by the MTF. Thus, the proposed pipeline can be used with state-of-the-art denoising techniques to improve the
quality of DBT and FFDM images.
Lucas R. Borges, Predrag R. Bakic, Alessandro Foi, Andrew D. A. Maidment, and Marcelo A. C. Vieira, "Pipeline for effective denoising of digital mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis," Proc. SPIE 10132, Medical Imaging 2017: Physics of Medical Imaging, 1013206 (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 13, 2017; Published: 9 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2255058.
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