Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is increasingly gaining acceptance in the medical field. Up until now, HSI has been used in conjunction with rigid endoscopy to detect cancer in vivo. The logical next step is to pair HSI with flexible endoscopy, since it improves access to hard-to-reach areas. While the flexible endoscope's fiber optic cables provide the advantage of flexibility, they also introduce an interfering honeycomb-like pattern onto images. Due to the substantial impact this pattern has on locating cancerous tissue, it must be removed before the HS data can be further processed. Thereby, the loss of information is to minimize avoiding the suppression of small-area variations of pixel values. We have developed a system that uses flexible endoscopy to record HS cubes of the larynx and designed a special filtering technique to remove the honeycomb-like pattern with minimal loss of information. We have confirmed its feasibility by comparing it to conventional filtering techniques using an objective metric and by applying unsupervised and supervised classifications to raw and pre-processed HS cubes. Compared to conventional techniques, our method successfully removes the honeycomb-like pattern and considerably improves classification performance, while preserving image details.
Keywords: classification; flexible endoscopy; honeycomb-like pattern removal; laryngeal cancer detection.