GPU-based Low Dose CT Reconstruction via Edge-preserving Total Variation Regularization

Zhen Tian, Xun Jia, Kehong Yuan, Tinsu Pan, Steve B. Jiang
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055, China
arXiv:1009.2288 [physics.med-ph] (13 Sep 2010)


   title={GPU-based Low Dose CT Reconstruction via Edge-preserving Total Variation Regularization},

   author={Tian, Z. and Jia, X. and Yuan, K. and Pan, T. and Jiang, S.B.},

   journal={Arxiv preprint arXiv:1009.2288},



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High radiation dose in CT scans increases a lifetime risk of cancer and has become a major clinical concern. Recently, iterative reconstruction algorithms with Total Variation (TV) regularization have been developed to reconstruct CT images from highly undersampled data acquired at low mAs levels in order to reduce the imaging dose. Nonetheless, TV regularization may lead to over-smoothed images and lost edge information. To solve this problem, in this work we develop an iterative CT reconstruction algorithm with edge-preserving TV regularization to reconstruct CT images from highly undersampled data obtained at low mAs levels. The CT image is reconstructed by minimizing an energy consisting of an edge-preserving TV norm and a data fidelity term posed by the x-ray projections. The edge-preserving TV term is proposed to preferentially perform smoothing only on non-edge part of the image in order to avoid over-smoothing, which is realized by introducing a penalty weight to the original total variation norm. Our iterative algorithm is implemented on GPU to improve its speed. We test our reconstruction algorithm on a digital NCAT phantom, a physical chest phantom, and a Catphan phantom. Reconstruction results from a conventional FBP algorithm and a TV regularization method without edge preserving penalty are also presented for comparison purpose. The experimental results illustrate that both TV-based algorithm and our edge-preserving TV algorithm outperform the conventional FBP algorithm in suppressing the streaking artifacts and image noise under the low dose context. Our edge-preserving algorithm is superior to the TV-based algorithm in that it can preserve more information of fine structures and therefore maintain acceptable spatial resolution.
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