Cone Beam Computed Tomography Image Quality Augmentation using Novel Deep Learning Networks

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Purpose: Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) plays an important role in image guidance for interventional radiology and radiation therapy by providing 3D volumetric images of the patient. However, CBCT suffers from relatively low image quality with severe image artifacts due to the nature of the image acquisition and reconstruction process. This work investigated the feasibility of using deep learning networks to substantially augment the image quality of CBCT by learning a direct mapping from the original CBCT images to their corresponding ground truth CT images. The possibility of using deep learning for scatter correction in CBCT projections was also investigated.

Methods: Two deep learning networks, i.e. a symmetric residual convolutional neural network (SR-CNN) and a U-net convolutional network, were trained to use the input CBCT images to produce high-quality CBCT images that match with the corresponding ground truth CT images. Both clinical and Monte Carlo simulated datasets were included for model training. In order to eliminate the misalignments between CBCT and the corresponding CT, rigid registration was applied to clinical database. The binary masks achieved by Otsu auto-thresholding method were applied to for Monte Carlo simulate data to avoid the negative impact of non-anatomical structures on images. After model training, a new set of CBCT images were fed into the trained network to obtain augmented CBCT images, and the performances were evaluated and compared both qualitatively and quantitatively. The augmented CBCT images were quantitatively compared to CT using the peak-signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) and the structural similarity index measure (SSIM).

Regarding the study for using deep learning for the scatter correction in CBCT, the scatter signal for each projection was acquired by Monte Carlo simulation. U-net model was trained to predict the scatter signals based on the original CBCT projections. Then the predicted scatter components were subtracted from the original CBCT projections to obtain scatter-corrected projections. CBCT image reconstructed by the scatter-corrected projections were quantitatively compared with that reconstructed by original projections.

Results: The augmented CBCT images by both SR-CNN and U-net models showed substantial improvement in image quality. Compared to original CBCT, the augmented CBCT images also achieve much higher PSNR and SSIM in quantitative evaluation. U-net demonstrated better performance than SR-CNN in quantitative evaluation and computational speed for CBCT image quality augmentation.

With the scatter correction in CBCT projections predicted by U-net, the scatter-corrected CBCT images demonstrated substantial improvement of the image contrast and anatomical details compared to the original CBCT images.

Conclusion: The proposed deep learning models can effectively augment CBCT image quality by correcting artifacts and reducing scatter. Given their relatively fast computational speeds and great performance, they can potentially become valuable tools to substantially enhance the quality of CBCT to improve its precision for target localization and adaptive radiotherapy.





Zhao, Yao (2019). Cone Beam Computed Tomography Image Quality Augmentation using Novel Deep Learning Networks. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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