Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vital: Denoising Is NOT Dose Reduction

After my visit to Kang and HealthFortis, which, by the way is associated with lifeIMAGE, I had the chance to wander over to Vital Images, and discuss our upcoming Shoot Out for Advanced Imaging. I must have been in the company of the right people (hear that, John?) as before I knew it, I was introduced to the CEO and to the EVP of Sales. After the pleasantries, I had the chance to really look hard at some of the things I needed to see, and had a really informative chat with our intrepid (and beleaguered, mostly by me) salesman and technical folks. I left knowing much more that I started with, but I'm going to leave the feature-list for the report of the Shoot Out itself.

One thing I do want to publish right now, though, is some information about denoising. Vital has a really nice denoising subroutine, which will take a noisy scan and smooth it out. Vital made it clear to me, however, and said that absolutely I have their permission to broadcast to the world, that this is NOT dose-reduction software. All it does is make an image that is degraded for whatever reason (NOT to include deliberately degraded) look prettier. No guarantees on whether data is lost, although almost certainly there won't be much lost at all, but users are urged to toggle back and forth between the pretty and the not-so-pretty pictures.

Where the idea of using denoising for dose-reduction came from, I'm not sure. I don't believe Vital ever promised this at all. I think in retrospect we must have found it perusing information from Clarity which DOES promise that one can lower the parameters to levels that produce crappy dose-reduced scans and then "rescue" them with their box, which performs digital filtering on the images:
Clarity is server-based and seamlessly integrates into your existing DICOM network. During installation of the Clarity solution, dose-optimized protocols are established on the CT scanner(s) to deliver desired image quality at reduced dose levels. Low dose images are transferred from the CT scanner to a Clarity server that resides on your DICOM network. Based on desired results that have been pre-determined by your Radiology staff, Clarity algorithms enhance image quality and automatically route the final images to their intended destinations.
I'm not buying it. In either sense of the term.

Much obliged to the good folks at Vital.

2 comments:

Dr. Sardonicus said...

something I use in my "other" life:

http://www.topazlabs.com/denoise/

Wonder what might happen if I put this algorithm on a radiologic image?

Anonymous said...

I hear ya Sam....