Document Type

Article

Abstract

Abstract

Background

Fetal spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a prenatal routine for proper assessment of fetus development, especially when suspected spinal malformations occur while ultrasound fails to provide details. Limited by hardware, fetal spine MR images suffer from its low resolution.

High-resolution MR images can directly enhance readability and improve diagnosis accuracy. Image interpolation for higher resolution is required in clinical situations, while many methods fail to preserve edge structures. Edge carries heavy structural messages of objects in visual scenes for doctors to detect suspicions, classify malformations and make correct diagnosis. Effective interpolation with well-preserved edge structures is still challenging.

Method

In this paper, we propose an edge-directed interpolation (EDI) method and apply it on a group of fetal spine MR images to evaluate its feasibility and performance. This method takes edge messages from Canny edge detector to guide further pixel modification. First, low-resolution (LR) images of fetal spine are interpolated into high-resolution (HR) images with targeted factor by bi-linear method. Then edge information from LR and HR images is put into a twofold strategy to sharpen or soften edge structures. Finally a HR image with well-preserved edge structures is generated. The HR images obtained from proposed method are validated and compared with that from other four EDI methods. Performances are evaluated from six metrics, and subjective analysis of visual quality is based on regions of interest (ROI).

Results

All these five EDI methods are able to generate HR images with enriched details. From quantitative analysis of six metrics, the proposed method outperforms the other four from signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR), structure similarity index (SSIM), feature similarity index (FSIM) and mutual information (MI) with seconds-level time consumptions (TC). Visual analysis of ROI shows that the proposed method maintains better consistency in edge structures with the original images.

Conclusions

The proposed method classifies edge orientations into four categories and well preserves structures. It generates convincing HR images with fine details and is suitable in real-time situations. Iterative curvature-based interpolation (ICBI) method may result in crisper edges, while the other three methods are sensitive to noise and artifacts.

Disciplines

Investigative Techniques | Maternal and Child Health | Radiology