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Title: Combined iterative reconstruction and image-domain decomposition for dual energy CT using total-variation regularization

Purpose: Dual-energy CT (DECT) is being increasingly used for its capability of material decomposition and energy-selective imaging. A generic problem of DECT, however, is that the decomposition process is unstable in the sense that the relative magnitude of decomposed signals is reduced due to signal cancellation while the image noise is accumulating from the two CT images of independent scans. Direct image decomposition, therefore, leads to severe degradation of signal-to-noise ratio on the resultant images. Existing noise suppression techniques are typically implemented in DECT with the procedures of reconstruction and decomposition performed independently, which do not explore the statistical properties of decomposed images during the reconstruction for noise reduction. In this work, the authors propose an iterative approach that combines the reconstruction and the signal decomposition procedures to minimize the DECT image noise without noticeable loss of resolution. Methods: The proposed algorithm is formulated as an optimization problem, which balances the data fidelity and total variation of decomposed images in one framework, and the decomposition step is carried out iteratively together with reconstruction. The noise in the CT images from the proposed algorithm becomes well correlated even though the noise of the raw projections is independent on the two CTmore » scans. Due to this feature, the proposed algorithm avoids noise accumulation during the decomposition process. The authors evaluate the method performance on noise suppression and spatial resolution using phantom studies and compare the algorithm with conventional denoising approaches as well as combined iterative reconstruction methods with different forms of regularization. Results: On the Catphan©600 phantom, the proposed method outperforms the existing denoising methods on preserving spatial resolution at the same level of noise suppression, i.e., a reduction of noise standard deviation by one order of magnitude. This improvement is mainly attributed to the high noise correlation in the CT images reconstructed by the proposed algorithm. Iterative reconstruction using different regularization, including quadratic orq-generalized Gaussian Markov random field regularization, achieves similar noise suppression from high noise correlation. However, the proposed TV regularization obtains a better edge preserving performance. Studies of electron density measurement also show that our method reduces the average estimation error from 9.5% to 7.1%. On the anthropomorphic head phantom, the proposed method suppresses the noise standard deviation of the decomposed images by a factor of ∼14 without blurring the fine structures in the sinus area. Conclusions: The authors propose a practical method for DECT imaging reconstruction, which combines the image reconstruction and material decomposition into one optimization framework. Compared to the existing approaches, our method achieves a superior performance on DECT imaging with respect to decomposition accuracy, noise reduction, and spatial resolution.« less
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  1. Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Programs, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States