Statistical and heuristic image noise extraction (SHINE): a new method for processing Poisson noise in scintigraphic images

Phys Med Biol. 2002 Dec 21;47(24):4329-44. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/47/24/302.


Poisson noise is one of the factors degrading scintigraphic images, especially at low count level, due to the statistical nature of photon detection. We have developed an original procedure, named statistical and heuristic image noise extraction (SHINE), to reduce the Poisson noise contained in the scintigraphic images, preserving the resolution, the contrast and the texture. The SHINE procedure consists in dividing the image into 4 x 4 blocks and performing a correspondence analysis on these blocks. Each block is then reconstructed using its own significant factors which are selected using an original statistical variance test. The SHINE procedure has been validated using a line numerical phantom and a hot spots and cold spots real phantom. The reference images are the noise-free simulated images for the numerical phantom and an extremely high counts image for the real phantom. The SHINE procedure has then been applied to the Jaszczak phantom and clinical data including planar bone scintigraphy, planar Sestamibi scintigraphy and Tl-201 myocardial SPECT. The SHINE procedure reduces the mean normalized error between the noisy images and the corresponding reference images. This reduction is constant and does not change with the count level. The SNR in a SHINE processed image is close to that of the corresponding raw image with twice the number of counts. The visual results with the Jaszczak phantom SPECT have shown that SHINE preserves the contrast and the resolution of the slices well. Clinical examples have shown no visual difference between the SHINE images and the corresponding raw images obtained with twice the acquisition duration. SHINE is an entirely automatic procedure which enables halving the acquisition time or the injected dose in scintigraphic acquisitions. It can be applied to all scintigraphic images, including PET data, and to all low-count photon images.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Artifacts
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Poisson Distribution*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Software
  • Stochastic Processes*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi
  • Thallium
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • thallium chloride
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi
  • Thallium