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Biomed Opt Express. 2018 Jun 26;9(7):3354-3372. doi: 10.1364/BOE.9.003354. eCollection 2018 Jul 1.

Volumetric non-local-means based speckle reduction for optical coherence tomography.

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Applied Optics Group, Universidad EAFIT, Carrera 49 # 7 Sur-50, Medellín, Colombia.
Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, 40 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


We present a novel tomographic non-local-means based despeckling technique, TNode, for optical coherence tomography. TNode is built upon a weighting similarity criterion derived for speckle in a three-dimensional similarity window. We present an implementation using a two-dimensional search window, enabling the despeckling of volumes in the presence of motion artifacts, and an implementation using a three-dimensional window with improved performance in motion-free volumes. We show that our technique provides effective speckle reduction, comparable with B-scan compounding or out-of-plane averaging, while preserving isotropic resolution, even to the level of speckle-sized structures. We demonstrate its superior despeckling performance in a phantom data set, and in an ophthalmic data set we show that small, speckle-sized retinal vessels are clearly preserved in intensity images en-face and in two orthogonal, cross-sectional views. TNode does not rely on dictionaries or segmentation and therefore can readily be applied to arbitrary optical coherence tomography volumes. We show that despeckled esophageal volumes exhibit improved image quality and detail, even in the presence of significant motion artifacts.


(100.0100) Image processing; (100.6950) Tomographic image processing; (110.4280) Noise in imaging systems; (110.4500) Optical coherence tomography; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging

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