Over the past several years, significant efforts have been made to improve the spatial resolution of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), aiming at better detecting subtle lesions and more reliably resolving white-matter fiber tracts. A major concern with high-resolution DWI is the limited signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), which may significantly offset the advantages of high spatial resolution. Although the SNR of DWI data can be improved by denoising in post-processing, existing denoising procedures may potentially reduce the anatomic resolvability of high-resolution imaging data. Additionally, non-Gaussian noise induced signal bias in low-SNR DWI data may not always be corrected with existing denoising approaches. Here we report an improved denoising procedure, termed diffusion-matched principal component analysis (DM-PCA), which comprises 1) identifying a group of (not necessarily neighboring) voxels that demonstrate very similar magnitude signal variation patterns along the diffusion dimension, 2) correcting low-frequency phase variations in complex-valued DWI data, 3) performing PCA along the diffusion dimension for real- and imaginary-components (in two separate channels) of phase-corrected DWI voxels with matched diffusion properties, 4) suppressing the noisy PCA components in real- and imaginary-components, separately, of phase-corrected DWI data, and 5) combining real- and imaginary-components of denoised DWI data. Our data show that the new two-channel (i.e., for real- and imaginary-components) DM-PCA denoising procedure performs reliably without noticeably compromising anatomic resolvability. Non-Gaussian noise induced signal bias could also be reduced with the new denoising method. The DM-PCA based denoising procedure should prove highly valuable for high-resolution DWI studies in research and clinical uses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)