Projection-domain scatter correction for cone beam computed tomography using a residual convolutional neural network.
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE:Scatter is a major factor degrading the image quality of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). Conventional scatter correction strategies require handcrafted analytical models with ad hoc assumptions, which often leads to less accurate scatter removal. This study aims to develop an effective scatter correction method using a residual convolutional neural network (CNN). METHODS:A U-net based 25-layer CNN was constructed for CBCT scatter correction. The establishment of the model consists of three steps: model training, validation, and testing. For model training, a total of 1800 pairs of x-ray projection and the corresponding scatter-only distribution in nonanthropomorphic phantoms taken in full-fan scan were generated using Monte Carlo simulation of a CBCT scanner installed with a proton therapy system. An end-to-end CNN training was implemented with two major loss functions for 100 epochs with a mini-batch size of 10. Image rotations and flips were randomly applied to augment the training datasets during training. For validation, 200 projections of a digital head phantom were collected. The proposed CNN-based method was compared to a conventional projection-domain scatter correction method named fast adaptive scatter kernel superposition (fASKS) method using 360 projections of an anthropomorphic head phantom. Two different loss functions were applied for the same CNN to evaluate the impact of loss functions on the final results. Furthermore, the CNN model trained with full-fan projections was fine-tuned for scatter correction in half-fan scan by using transfer learning with additional 360 half-fan projection pairs of nonanthropomorphic phantoms. The tuned-CNN model for half-fan scan was compared with the fASKS method as well as the CNN-based method without the fine-tuning using additional lung phantom projections. RESULTS:The CNN-based method provides projections with significantly reduced scatter and CBCT images with more accurate Hounsfield Units (HUs) than that of the fASKS-based method. Root mean squared error of the CNN-corrected projections was improved to 0.0862 compared to 0.278 for uncorrected projections or 0.117 for the fASKS-corrected projections. The CNN-corrected reconstruction provided better HU quantification, especially in regions near the air or bone interfaces. All four image quality measures, which include mean absolute error (MAE), mean squared error (MSE), peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR), and structural similarity (SSIM), indicated that the CNN-corrected images were significantly better than that of the fASKS-corrected images. Moreover, the proposed transfer learning technique made it possible for the CNN model trained with full-fan projections to be applicable to remove scatters in half-fan projections after fine-tuning with only a small number of additional half-fan training datasets. SSIM value of the tuned-CNN-corrected images was 0.9993 compared to 0.9984 for the non-tuned-CNN-corrected images or 0.9990 for the fASKS-corrected images. Finally, the CNN-based method is computationally efficient - the correction time for the 360 projections only took less than 5 s in the reported experiments on a PC (4.20 GHz Intel Core-i7 CPU) with a single NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU. CONCLUSIONS:The proposed deep learning-based method provides an effective tool for CBCT scatter correction and holds significant value for quantitative imaging and image-guided radiation therapy.
Project description:Edges tend to be over-smoothed in total variation (TV) regularized under-sampled images. In this paper, symmetric residual convolutional neural network (SR-CNN), a deep learning based model, was proposed to enhance the sharpness of edges and detailed anatomical structures in under-sampled cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). For training, CBCT images were reconstructed using TV-based method from limited projections simulated from the ground truth CT, and were fed into SR-CNN, which was trained to learn a restoring pattern from under-sampled images to the ground truth. For testing, under-sampled CBCT was reconstructed using TV regularization and was then augmented by SR-CNN. Performance of SR-CNN was evaluated using phantom and patient images of various disease sites acquired at different institutions both qualitatively and quantitatively using structure similarity (SSIM) and peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR). SR-CNN substantially enhanced image details in the TV-based CBCT across all experiments. In the patient study using real projections, SR-CNN augmented CBCT images reconstructed from as low as 120 half-fan projections to image quality comparable to the reference fully-sampled FDK reconstruction using 900 projections. In the tumor localization study, improvements in the tumor localization accuracy were made by the SR-CNN augmented images compared with the conventional FDK and TV-based images. SR-CNN demonstrated robustness against noise levels and projection number reductions and generalization for various disease sites and datasets from different institutions. Overall, the SR-CNN-based image augmentation technique was efficient and effective in considerably enhancing edges and anatomical structures in under-sampled 3D/4D-CBCT, which can be very valuable for image-guided radiotherapy.