A geometry-guided multi-beamlet deep learning technique for CT reconstruction.
Purpose. Previous studies have proposed deep-learning techniques to reconstruct CT images from sinograms. However, these techniques employ large fully-connected (FC) layers for projection-to-image domain transformation, producing large models requiring substantial computation power, potentially exceeding the computation memory limit. Our previous work proposed a geometry-guided-deep-learning (GDL) technique for CBCT reconstruction that reduces model size and GPU memory consumption. This study further develops the technique and proposes a novel multi-beamlet deep learning (GMDL) technique of improved performance. The study compares the proposed technique with the FC layer-based deep learning (FCDL) method and the GDL technique through low-dose real-patient CT image reconstruction.Methods. Instead of using a large FC layer, the GMDL technique learns the projection-to-image domain transformation by constructing many small FC layers. In addition to connecting each pixel in the projection domain to beamlet points along the central beamlet in the image domain as GDL does, these smaller FC layers in GMDL connect each pixel to beamlets peripheral to the central beamlet based on the CT projection geometry. We compare ground truth images with low-dose images reconstructed with the GMDL, the FCDL, the GDL, and the conventional FBP methods. The images are quantitatively analyzed in terms of peak-signal-to-noise-ratio (PSNR), structural-similarity-index-measure (SSIM), and root-mean-square-error (RMSE).Results. Compared to other methods, the GMDL reconstructed low-dose CT images show improved image quality in terms of PSNR, SSIM, and RMSE. The optimal number of peripheral beamlets for the GMDL technique is two beamlets on each side of the central beamlet. The model size and memory consumption of the GMDL model is less than 1/100 of the FCDL model.Conclusion. Compared to the FCDL method, the GMDL technique is demonstrated to be able to reconstruct real patient low-dose CT images of improved image quality with significantly reduced model size and GPU memory requirement.
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