WE-FG-207B-03: Multi-Energy CT Reconstruction with Spatial Spectral Nonlocal Means Regularization




Multi-energy computed tomography (MECT) is an emerging application in medical imaging due to its ability of material differentiation and potential for molecular imaging. In MECT, image correlations at different spatial and channels exist. It is desirable to incorporate these correlations in reconstruction to improve image quality. For this purpose, this study proposes a MECT reconstruction technique that employes spatial spectral non-local means (ssNLM) regularization.


We consider a kVp-switching scanning method in which source energy is rapidly switched during data acquisition. For each energy channel, this yields projection data acquired at a number of angles, whereas projection angles among channels are different. We formulate the reconstruction task as an optimziation problem. A least square term enfores data fidelity. A ssNLM term is used as regularization to encourage similarities among image patches at different spatial locations and channels. When comparing image patches at different channels, intensity difference were corrected by a transformation estimated via histogram equalization during the reconstruction process.


We tested our method in a simulation study with a NCAT phantom and an experimental study with a Gammex phantom. For comparison purpose, we also performed reconstructions using conjugate-gradient least square (CGLS) method and conventional NLM method that only considers spatial correlation in an image. ssNLM is able to better suppress streak artifacts. The streaks are along different projection directions in images at different channels. ssNLM discourages this dissimilarity and hence removes them. True image structures are preserved in this process. Measurements in regions of interests yield 1.1 to 3.2 and 1.5 to 1.8 times higher contrast to noise ratio than the NLM approach. Improvements over CGLS is even more profound due to lack of regularization in the CGLS method and hence amplified noise.


The proposed ssNLM method for kVp-switching MECT reconstruction can achieve high quality MECT images.