Enhancement of contrast regions in suboptimal ultrasound images with application to echocardiography.
Boukerroui D., Noble JA., Robini MC., Brady M.
In this paper we propose a novel feature-based contrast enhancement approach to enhance the quality of noisy ultrasound (US) images. Our approach uses a phase-based feature detection algorithm, followed by sparse surface interpolation and subsequent nonlinear postprocessing. We first exploited the intensity-invariant property of phase-based acoustic feature detection to select a set of relevant image features in the data. Then, an approximation to the low-frequency components of the sparse set of selected features was obtained using a fast surface interpolation algorithm. Finally, a nonlinear postprocessing step was applied. Results of applying the method to echocardiographic sequences (2-D + T) are presented. The results demonstrate that the method can successfully enhance the intensity of the interesting features in the image. Better balanced contrasted images are obtained, which is important and useful both for manual processing and assessment by a clinician, and for computer analysis of the sequence. An evaluation protocol is proposed in the case of echocardiographic data and quantitative results are presented. We show that the correction is consistent over time and does not introduce any temporal artefacts.