A dual-stream deep convolutional network for reducing metal streak artifacts in CT images

Phys Med Biol. 2019 Nov 26;64(23):235003. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/ab4e3e.


Machine learning and deep learning are rapidly finding applications in the medical imaging field. In this paper, we address the long-standing problem of metal artifacts in computed tomography (CT) images by training a dual-stream deep convolutional neural network for streak removal. While many metal artifact reduction methods exist, even state-of-the-art algorithms fall short in some clinical applications. Specifically, proton therapy planning requires high image quality with accurate tumor volumes to ensure treatment success. We explore a dual-stream deep network structure with residual learning to correct metal streak artifacts after a first-pass by a state-of-the-art interpolation-based algorithm, NMAR. We provide the network with a mask of the streaks in order to focus attention on those areas. Our experiments compare a mean squared error loss function with a perceptual loss function to emphasize preservation of image features and texture. Both visual and quantitative metrics are used to assess the resulting image quality for metal implant cases. Success may be due to the duality of information processing, with one network stream performing local structure correction, while the other stream provides an attention mechanism to destreak effectively. This study shows that image-domain deep learning can be highly effective for metal artifact reduction (MAR), and highlights the benefits and drawbacks of different loss functions for solving a major CT reconstruction challenge.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts*
  • Deep Learning
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Machine Learning
  • Metals*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Pedicle Screws
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Proton Therapy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Visible Human Projects


  • Metals