Image post-processing is used in clinical-grade ultrasound scanners to improve image quality (e.g., reduce speckle noise and enhance contrast). These post-processing techniques vary across manufacturers and are generally kept proprietary, which presents a challenge for researchers looking to match current clinical-grade workflows. We introduce a deep learning framework, MimickNet, that transforms raw conventional delay-and-summed (DAS) beams into the approximate post-processed images found on clinical-grade scanners. Training MimickNet only requires post-processed image samples from a scanner of interest without the need for explicit pairing to raw DAS data. This flexibility allows it to hypothetically approximate any manufacturer's post-processing without access to the pre-processed data. MimickNet generates images with an average similarity index measurement (SSIM) of 0.930$\pm$0.0892 on a 300 cineloop test set, and it generalizes to cardiac cineloops outside of our train-test distribution achieving an SSIM of 0.967$\pm$0.002. We also explore the theoretical SSIM achievable by evaluating MimickNet performance when trained under gray-box constraints (i.e., when both pre-processed and post-processed images are available). To our knowledge, this is the first work to establish deep learning models that closely approximate current clinical-grade ultrasound post-processing under realistic black-box constraints where before and after post-processing data is unavailable. MimickNet serves as a clinical post-processing baseline for future works in ultrasound image formation to compare against. To this end, we have made the MimickNet software open source.
- Pub Date:
- August 2019
- Electrical Engineering and Systems Science - Image and Video Processing;
- Computer Science - Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition;
- Statistics - Machine Learning
- This work has been submitted to the IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging on July 1st, 2019 for possible publication. Copyright may be transferred without notice, after which this version may no longer be accessible