An Effective Post-Filtering Framework for 3-D PET Image Denoising Based on Noise and Sensitivity Characteristics

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Positron emission tomography (PET) images usually suffer from a noticeable amount of statistical noise. In order to reduce this noise, a post-filtering process is usually adopted. However, the performance of this approach is limited because the denoising process is mostly performed on the basis of the Gaussian random noise. It has been reported that in a PET image reconstructed by the expectation-maximization (EM), the noise variance of each voxel depends on its mean value, unlike in the case of Gaussian noise. In addition, we observe that the variance also varies with the spatial sensitivity distribution in a PET system, which reflects both the solid angle determined by a given scanner geometry and the attenuation information of a scanned object. Thus, if a post-filtering process based on the Gaussian random noise is applied to PET images without consideration of the noise characteristics along with the spatial sensitivity distribution, the spatially variant non-Gaussian noise cannot be reduced effectively. In the proposed framework, to effectively reduce the noise in PET images reconstructed by the 3-D ordinary Poisson ordered subset EM (3-D OP-OSEM), we first denormalize an image according to the sensitivity of each voxel so that the voxel mean value can represent its statistical properties reliably. Based on our observation that each noisy denormalized voxel has a linear relationship between the mean and variance, we try to convert this non-Gaussian noise image to a Gaussian noise image. We then apply a block matching 4-D algorithm that is optimized for noise reduction of the Gaussian noise image, and reconvert and renormalize the result to obtain a final denoised image. Using simulated phantom data and clinical patient data, we demonstrate that the proposed framework can effectively suppress the noise over the whole region of a PET image while minimizing degradation of the image resolution.
Publisher
IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC
Issue Date
2015-02
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON NUCLEAR SCIENCE, v.62, no.1, pp.137 - 147

ISSN
0018-9499
DOI
10.1109/TNS.2014.2360176
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/195793
Appears in Collection
EE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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