In digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) systems, projection data are acquired from a limited number of angles. Consequently, the reconstructed images contain severe blurring artifacts that might heavily degrade the DBT image quality and cause difficulties in detecting lesions. In this study, we propose a two-phase learning approach for artifact compensation in a coarse-to-fine manner to mitigate blurring artifacts effectively along all viewing directions of the DBT image volume (i.e., along the axial, coronal, and sagittal planes) to improve the detection performance of lesions. The proposed method employs a convolutional neural network model comprising two submodels/phases, with Phase 1 performing three-dimensional (3D) deblurring and Phase 2 performing additional 2D deblurring. To investigate the effects of loss functions on the proposed model’s deblurring performance, we evaluated several loss functions, such as the pixel-based loss function, adversarial-based loss function, and perception-based loss function. Compared with the DBT image, the mean squared error of the image and the root mean squared errors of the gradient of the image decreased by 82.8% and 44.9%, respectively, and the contrast-to-noise ratio increased by 183.4% in the in-focus plane. We verified that the proposed method sequentially restored the missing frequency components as the DBT images were processed through the Phase 1 and Phase 2 steps. These results indicate that the proposed method performs effective 3D deblurring, significantly reducing the blurring artifacts in the in-focus plane and other planes of the DBT image, thus improving the detection performance of lesions.
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© 2022 Choi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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