Bone suppression technique for chest radiographs

Zhimin Huo, Fan Xu, Jane Zhang, Hui Zhao, Susan K. Hobbs, John C. Wandtke, Anne Marie Sykes, Narinder Paul, David Foos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


High-contrast bone structures are a major noise contributor in chest radiographic images. A signal of interest in a chest radiograph could be either partially or completely obscured or overshadowed by the highly contrasted bone structures in its surrounding. Thus, removing the bone structures, especially the posterior rib and clavicle structures, is highly desirable to increase the visibility of soft tissue density. We developed an innovative technology that offers a solution to suppress bone structures, including posterior ribs and clavicles, on conventional and portable chest X-ray images. The bone-suppression image processing technology includes five major steps: 1) lung segmentation, 2) rib and clavicle structure detection, 3) rib and clavicle edge detection, 4) rib and clavicle profile estimation, and 5) suppression based on the estimated profiles. The bone-suppression software outputs an image with both the rib and clavicle structures suppressed. The rib suppression performance was evaluated on 491 images. On average, 83.06% (±6.59%) of the rib structures on a standard chest image were suppressed based on the comparison of computer-identified rib areas against hand-drawn rib areas, which is equivalent to about an average of one rib that is still visible on a rib-suppressed image based on a visual assessment. Reader studies were performed to evaluate reader performance in detecting lung nodules and pneumothoraces with and without a bone-suppression companion view. Results from reader studies indicated that the bone-suppression technology significantly improved radiologists' performance in the detection of CT-confirmed possible nodules and pneumothoraces on chest radiographs. The results also showed that radiologists were more confident in making diagnoses regarding the presence or absence of an abnormality after rib-suppressed companion views were presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2014
Subtitle of host publicationImage Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment
ISBN (Print)9780819498304
StatePublished - 2014
EventMedical Imaging 2014: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 16 2014Feb 17 2014

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2014: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Chest radiograph
  • Detection
  • Digital radiograph
  • Lung nodule
  • Pneumothorax
  • Portable x-ray image
  • Reader study
  • Rib suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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