This work investigates the perception of noise from restored low-dose digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) images. First, low-dose DBT projections were generated using a dose reduction simulation algorithm. A dataset of clinical images from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was used for this purpose. Low-dose projections were then denoised with a denoising pipeline developed specifically for DBT images. Denoised and noisy projections were combined to generate images with signal-to-noise ratio comparable to the full-dose images. The quality of restored low-dose and full-dose projections were first compared in terms of an objective no-reference image quality metric previously validated for mammography. In the second analysis, regions of interest (ROIs) were selected from reconstructed full-dose and restored low-dose slices, and were displayed side-by-side on a high-resolution medical display. Five medical physics specialists were asked to choose the image containing less noise and less blur using a 2-AFC experiment. The objective metric shows that, after the proposed image restoration framework was applied, images with as little as 60% of the AEC dose yielded similar quality indices when compared to images acquired with the full-dose. In the 2-AFC experiments results showed that when the denoising framework was used, 30% reduction in dose was possible without any perceived difference in noise or blur. Note that this study evaluated the observers perception to noise and blur and does not claim that the dose of DBT examinations can be reduced with no harm to the detection of cancer. Future work is necessary to make any claims regarding detection, localization and characterization of lesions.
Lucas R. Borges, Predrag R. Bakic, Andrew D. A. Maidment, and Marcelo A. C. Vieira, "Restored low-dose digital breast tomosynthesis: a perception study," Proc. SPIE 10577, Medical Imaging 2018: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 1057705 (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 11, 2018; Published: 7 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293252.
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