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n SA Journal of Radiology - Image quality dependence on image processing software in computed radiography : original article
Background. Image post-processing gives computed radiography (CR) a considerable advantage over film-screen systems. After digitisation of information from CR plates, data are routinely processed using manufacturer-specific software. Agfa CR readers use MUSICA software, and an upgrade with significantly different image appearance was recently released: MUSICA2.
Aim. This study quantitatively compares the image quality of images acquired without post-processing (flatfield) with images processed using these two software packages.
Methods. Four aspects of image quality were evaluated. An aluminium step-wedge was imaged using constant mA at tube voltages varying from 40 to 117 kV. Signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) were calculated from all steps. Contrast variation with object size was evaluated with visual assessment of images of a Perspex contrast-detail phantom, and an image quality figure (IQF) was calculated. Resolution was assessed using modulation transfer functions (MTFs).
Results. SNRs for MUSICA2 were generally higher than the other two methods. The CNRs were comparable between the two software versions, although MUSICA2 had slightly higher values at lower kV. The flatfield CNR values were better than those for the processed images. All images showed a decrease in CNRs with tube voltage. The contrast-detail measurements showed that both MUSICA programmes improved the contrast of smaller objects. MUSICA2 was found to give the lowest (best) IQF; MTF measurements confirmed this, with values at 3.5 lp/mm of 10% for MUSICA2, 8% for MUSICA and 5% for flatfield.
Conclusion. Both MUSICA software packages produced images with better contrast resolution than unprocessed images. MUSICA2 has slightly improved image quality than MUSICA.
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