Purpose: To test if the proposed deep learning based denoising method denoising convolutional neural networks (DnCNN) with residual learning and multi-channel strategy can denoise three dimensional MR images with Rician noise robustly.
Materials and methods: Multi-channel DnCNN (MCDnCNN) method with two training strategies was developed to denoise MR images with and without a specific noise level, respectively. To evaluate our method, three datasets from two public data sources of IXI dataset and Brainweb, including T1 weighted MR images acquired at 1.5 and 3 T as well as MR images simulated with a widely used MR simulator, were randomly selected and artificially added with different noise levels ranging from 1 to 15%. For comparison, four other state-of-the-art denoising methods were also tested using these datasets.
Results: In terms of the highest peak-signal-to-noise-ratio and global of structure similarity index, our proposed MCDnCNN model for a specific noise level showed the most robust denoising performance in all three datasets. Next to that, our general noise-applicable model also performed better than the rest four methods in two datasets. Furthermore, our training model showed good general applicability.
Conclusion: Our proposed MCDnCNN model has been demonstrated to robustly denoise three dimensional MR images with Rician noise.
Keywords: CNN; Deep learning; Denoising; MRI; Rician noise.