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IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2018 Aug;37(8):1857-1864. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2018.2814058. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Improving the Automated Detection of Calcifications Using Adaptive Variance Stabilization.


In this paper, we analyze how stabilizing the variance of intensity-dependent quantum noise in digital mammograms can significantly improve the computerized detection of microcalcifications (MCs). These lesions appear on mammograms as tiny deposits of calcium smaller than 20 pixels in diameter. At this scale, high frequency image noise is dominated by quantum noise, which in raw mammograms can be described with a square-root noise model. Under this assumption, we derive an adaptive variance stabilizing transform (VST) that stabilizes the noise to unitary standard deviation in all the images. This is achieved by estimating the noise characteristics from the image at hand. We tested the adaptive VST as a preprocessing stage for four existing computerized MC detection methods on three data sets acquired with mammographic units from different manufacturers. In all the test cases considered, MC detection performance on transformed mammograms was statistically significantly higher than on unprocessed mammograms. Results were also superior in comparison with a "fixed" (nonparametric) VST previously proposed for digital mammograms.


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