LIT-Former: Linking In-plane and Through-plane Transformers for Simultaneous CT Image Denoising and Deblurring

by   Zhihao Chen, et al.

This paper studies 3D low-dose computed tomography (CT) imaging. Although various deep learning methods were developed in this context, typically they perform denoising due to low-dose and deblurring for super-resolution separately. Up to date, little work was done for simultaneous in-plane denoising and through-plane deblurring, which is important to improve clinical CT images. For this task, a straightforward method is to directly train an end-to-end 3D network. However, it demands much more training data and expensive computational costs. Here, we propose to link in-plane and through-plane transformers for simultaneous in-plane denoising and through-plane deblurring, termed as LIT-Former, which can efficiently synergize in-plane and through-plane sub-tasks for 3D CT imaging and enjoy the advantages of both convolution and transformer networks. LIT-Former has two novel designs: efficient multi-head self-attention modules (eMSM) and efficient convolutional feed-forward networks (eCFN). First, eMSM integrates in-plane 2D self-attention and through-plane 1D self-attention to efficiently capture global interactions of 3D self-attention, the core unit of transformer networks. Second, eCFN integrates 2D convolution and 1D convolution to extract local information of 3D convolution in the same fashion. As a result, the proposed LIT-Former synergizes these two sub-tasks, significantly reducing the computational complexity as compared to 3D counterparts and enabling rapid convergence. Extensive experimental results on simulated and clinical datasets demonstrate superior performance over state-of-the-art models.


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