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23 February 2010 Effects of fixed-rate CT projection data compression on perceived and measured CT image quality
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Compression of computed tomography (CT) projection data reduces CT scanner bandwidth and storage costs. Since fixed-rate compression guarantees predictable bandwidth, fixed-rate compression is preferable to lossless compression, but fixed-rate compression can introduce image artifacts. This research demonstrates clinically acceptable image quality at 3:1 compression as judged by a radiologist and as estimated by an image quality metric called local structural similarity (SSIM). We examine other common, quantitative image quality metrics from image processing, including peak signal-to-noise (PSNR), contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), and difference image statistics to quantify the magnitude and location of image artifacts caused by fixed-rate compression of CT projection data. Masking effects caused by local contrast, air and bone pixels, and image reconstruction effects at the image's periphery and iso-center explain why artifacts introduced by compression are not noticed by radiologists. SSIM metrics in this study nearly always exceeds 0.98 (even at 4:1 compression ratios), which is considered visually indistinguishable. The excellent correlation of local SSIM and subjective image quality assessment confirms that fixed-rate 3:1 projection data compression on CT images does not affect clinical diagnosis and is rarely noticed. Local SSIM metrics can be used to significantly reduce the number of viewed images in medical image quality studies.
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Albert Wegener, Naveen Chandra, Yi Ling, Robert Senzig, and Robert Herfkens "Effects of fixed-rate CT projection data compression on perceived and measured CT image quality", Proc. SPIE 7627, Medical Imaging 2010: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 76270G (23 February 2010);


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