Denoising for improved parametric MRI of the kidney: protocol for nonlocal means filtering


  • L. Starke
  • K. Tabelow
  • T. Niendorf
  • A. Pohlmann


  • Methods in Molecular Biology


  • Methods Mol Biol 2216: 565-576


  • In order to tackle the challenges caused by the variability in estimated MRI parameters (e.g., T(2)* and T(2)) due to low SNR a number of strategies can be followed. One approach is postprocessing of the acquired data with a filter. The basic idea is that MR images possess a local spatial structure that is characterized by equal, or at least similar, noise-free signal values in vicinities of a location. Then, local averaging of the signal reduces the noise component of the signal. In contrast, nonlocal means filtering defines the weights for averaging not only within the local vicinity, bur it compares the image intensities between all voxels to define "nonlocal" weights. Furthermore, it generally compares not only single-voxel intensities but small spatial patches of the data to better account for extended similar patterns. Here we describe how to use an open source NLM filter tool to denoise 2D MR image series of the kidney used for parametric mapping of the relaxation times T(2)* and T(2).This chapter is based upon work from the COST Action PARENCHIMA, a community-driven network funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program of the European Union, which aims to improve the reproducibility and standardization of renal MRI biomarkers.