Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) measured in B-mode ultrasound image is an important indicator of Atherosclerosis disease. Speckle noise inherently present in ultrasounds’ thereby degrades the visual evaluation and limits the automated segmentation performance. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of three despeckle filters on the segmentation of carotid IMT in ultrasound image.
Automated segmentation of IMT is achieved by utilizing fast fuzzy c-mean clustering and distance-regularized level set without re-initialization techniques. Manual segmentation has been done by an experienced radiologist. The performances of median, hybrid median and improved adaptive complex diffusion (IACDF) filters are examined and a quantitative and qualitative comparison among these filters has been reported on 151 DICOM images. Bland-Altman plots were used to compare IMT results of these filters. Furthermore, performances of above three filters are evaluated under different noise levels by individually adding speckle and salt and pepper noise in ten randomly selected images from 151 DICOM dataset. Plots between noise and quality evaluation metric parameters are used to compare de-noising performance of these filters.
The average processing time per image of proposed IMT measurement technique without-filter and with filter is approx 15.39 sec max.
It is shown that the median filter (window 5 x 5) measures better than hybrid median and IACDF filters. Finally, concluded that de-noising of ultrasound image before segmentation procedure certainly improves segmentation accuracy. Furthermore, it is observed that these filters do not impose serious computational burden and entail moderate processing time.

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