Heel effect adaptive flat field correction of digital x-ray detectors

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

Anode heel effect renders large-scale background nonuniformities in digital radiographs. Conventional offset/gain calibration is performed at mono source-to-image distance (SID), and disregards the SID-dependent characteristic of heel effect. It results in a residual nonuniform background in the corrected radiographs when the SID settings for calibration and correction differ. In this work, the authors develop a robust and efficient computational method for digital x-ray detector gain correction adapted to SID-variant heel effect, without resorting to physical filters, phantoms, complicated heel effect models, or multiple-SID calibration and interpolation.

Methods:

The authors present the Duo-SID projection correction method. In our approach, conventional offset/gain calibrations are performed only twice, at the minimum and maximum SIDs of the system in typical clinical use. A fast iterative separation algorithm is devised to extract the detector gain and basis heel patterns from the min/max SID calibrations. The resultant detector gain is independent of SID, while the basis heel patterns are parameterized by the min- and max-SID. The heel pattern at any SID is obtained from the min-SID basis heel pattern via projection imaging principles. The system gain desired at a specific acquisition SID is then constructed using the projected heel pattern and detector gain map.

Results:

The method was evaluated for flat field and anatomical phantom image corrections. It demonstrated promising improvements over interpolation and conventional gain calibration/correction methods, lowering their correction errors by approximately 70% and 80%, respectively. The separation algorithm was able to extract the detector gain and heel patterns with less than 2% error, and the Duo-SID corrected images showed perceptually appealing uniform background across the detector.

Conclusions:

The Duo-SID correction method has substantially improved on conventional offset/gain corrections for digital x-ray imaging in an SID-variant environment. The technique is relatively simple, and can be easily incorporated into multiple-point gain calibration/correction techniques. It offers a potentially valuable tool for preprocessing digital x-ray images to boost image quality of mammography, chest and cardiac radiography, as well as automated computer aided diagnostic radiology.

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