PURPOSE: To develop a super-resolution technique using convolutional neural networks for generating thin-slice knee MR images from thicker input slices, and compare this method with alternative through-plane interpolation methods.METHODS: We implemented a 3D convolutional neural network entitled DeepResolve to learn residual-based transformations between high-resolution thin-slice images and lower-resolution thick-slice images at the same center locations. DeepResolve was trained using 124 double echo in steady-state (DESS) data sets with 0.7-mm slice thickness and tested on 17 patients. Ground-truth images were compared with DeepResolve, clinically used tricubic interpolation, and Fourier interpolation methods, along with state-of-the-art single-image sparse-coding super-resolution. Comparisons were performed using structural similarity, peak SNR, and RMS error image quality metrics for a multitude of thin-slice downsampling factors. Two musculoskeletal radiologists ranked the 3 data sets and reviewed the diagnostic quality of the DeepResolve, tricubic interpolation, and ground-truth images for sharpness, contrast, artifacts, SNR, and overall diagnostic quality. Mann-Whitney U tests evaluated differences among the quantitative image metrics, reader scores, and rankings. Cohen's Kappa (kappa) evaluated interreader reliability.RESULTS: DeepResolve had significantly better structural similarity, peak SNR, and RMS error than tricubic interpolation, Fourier interpolation, and sparse-coding super-resolution for all downsampling factors (p<.05, except 4*and 8*sparse-coding super-resolution downsampling factors). In the reader study, DeepResolve significantly outperformed (p<.01) tricubic interpolation in all image quality categories and overall image ranking. Both readers had substantial scoring agreement (kappa=0.73).CONCLUSION: DeepResolve was capable of resolving high-resolution thin-slice knee MRI from lower-resolution thicker slices, achieving superior quantitative and qualitative diagnostic performance to both conventionally used and state-of-the-art methods.
View details for PubMedID 29582464