Noise in speckle-prone optical coherence tomography tends to obfuscate important details necessary for medical diagnosis. In this paper, a denoising approach that preserves disease characteristics on retinal optical coherence tomography images in ophthalmology is presented. We propose semantic denoising autoencoders, which combine a convolutional denoising autoencoder with a priorly trained ResNet image classifier as regularizer during training. This promotes the perceptibility of delicate details in the denoised images that are important for diagnosis and filters out only informationless background noise. With our approach, higher peak signal-to-noise ratios with PSNR = 31.0 dB and higher classification performance of <i>F<sub>1</sub></i> = 0.92 can be achieved for denoised images compared to state-of-the-art denoising. It is shown that semantically regularized autoencoders are capable of denoising retinal OCT images without blurring details of diseases.
In microsurgery, lasers have emerged as precise tools for bone ablation. A challenge is automatic control of laser bone ablation with 4D optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT as high resolution imaging modality provides volumetric images of tissue and foresees information of bone position and orientation (pose) as well as thickness. However, existing approaches for OCT based laser ablation control rely on external tracking systems or invasively ablated artificial landmarks for tracking the pose of the OCT probe relative to the tissue. This can be superseded by estimating the scene flow caused by relative movement between OCT-based laser ablation system and patient. Therefore, this paper deals with 2.5D scene flow estimation of volumetric OCT images for application in laser ablation. We present a semi-supervised convolutional neural network based tracking scheme for subsequent 3D OCT volumes and apply it to a realistic semi-synthetic data set of ex vivo human temporal bone specimen. The scene flow is estimated in a two-stage approach. In the first stage, 2D lateral scene flow is computed on census-transformed en-face arguments-of-maximum intensity projections. Subsequent to this, the projections are warped by predicted lateral flow and 1D depth flow is estimated. The neural network is trained semi-supervised by combining error to ground truth and the reconstruction error of warped images with assumptions of spatial flow smoothness. Quantitative evaluation reveals a mean endpoint error of (4.7 ± 3.5) voxel or (27.5 ± 20.5) μm for scene flow estimation caused by simulated relative movement between the OCT probe and bone. The scene flow estimation for 4D OCT enables its use for markerless tracking of mastoid bone structures for image guidance in general, and automated laser ablation control.
A common representation of volumetric medical image data is the triplanar view (TV), in which the surgeon manually selects slices showing the anatomical structure of interest. In addition to common medical imaging such as MRI or computed tomography, recent advances in the field of optical coherence tomography (OCT) have enabled live processing and volumetric rendering of four-dimensional images of the human body. Due to the region of interest undergoing motion, it is challenging for the surgeon to simultaneously keep track of an object by continuously adjusting the TV to desired slices. To select these slices in subsequent frames automatically, it is necessary to track movements of the volume of interest (VOI). This has not been addressed with respect to 4DOCT images yet. Therefore, this paper evaluates motion tracking by applying state-of-the-art tracking schemes on maximum intensity projections (MIP) of 4D-OCT images. Estimated VOI location is used to conveniently show corresponding slices and to improve the MIPs by calculating thin-slab MIPs. Tracking performances are evaluated on an in-vivo sequence of human skin, captured at 26 volumes per second. Among investigated tracking schemes, our recently presented tracking scheme for soft tissue motion provides highest accuracy with an error of under 2.2 voxels for the first 80 volumes. Object tracking on 4D-OCT images enables its use for sub-epithelial tracking of microvessels for image-guidance.