Abstract

Ultrasound (US) imaging is a widely used clinical diagnostic tool in medical imaging techniques. It is a comparatively safe, economical, painless, portable, and noninvasive real-time tool compared to the other imaging modalities. However, the image quality of US imaging is severely affected by the presence of speckle noise and blur during the acquisition process. In order to ensure a high-quality clinical diagnosis, US images must be restored by reducing their speckle noise and blur. In general, speckle noise is modeled as a multiplicative noise following a Rayleigh distribution and blur as a Gaussian function. Hereto, we propose an intelligent estimator based on artificial neural networks (ANNs) to estimate the variances of noise and blur, which, in turn, are used to obtain an image without discernible distortions. A set of statistical features computed from the image and its complex wavelet sub-bands are used as input to the ANN. In the proposed method, we solve the inverse Rayleigh function numerically for speckle reduction and use the Richardson–Lucy algorithm for de-blurring. The performance of this method is compared with that of the traditional methods by applying them to a synthetic, physical phantom and clinical data, which confirms better restoration results by the proposed method.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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