Multislice input for 2D and 3D residual convolutional neural network noise reduction in CT

Zhongxing Zhou, Nathan R. Huber, Akitoshi Inoue, Cynthia H. McCollough, Lifeng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Deep convolutional neural network (CNN)-based methods are increasingly used for reducing image noise in computed tomography (CT). Current attempts at CNN denoising are based on 2D or 3D CNN models with a single- or multiple-slice input. Our work aims to investigate if the multiple-slice input improves the denoising performance compared with the singleslice input and if a 3D network architecture is better than a 2D version at utilizing the multislice input. Approach: Two categories of network architectures can be used for the multislice input. First, multislice images can be stacked channel-wise as the multichannel input to a 2D CNN model. Second, multislice images can be employed as the 3D volumetric input to a 3D CNN model, in which the 3D convolution layers are adopted. We make performance comparisons among 2D CNN models with one, three, and seven input slices and two versions of 3D CNN models with seven input slices and one or three output slices. Evaluation was performed on liver CT images using three quantitative metrics with full-dose images as reference. Visual assessment was made by an experienced radiologist. Results: When the input channels of the 2D CNN model increases from one to three to seven, a trend of improved performance was observed. Comparing the three models with the seven-slice input, the 3D CNN model with a one-slice output outperforms the other models in terms of noise texture and homogeneity in liver parenchyma as well as subjective visualization of vessels. Conclusions: We conclude the that multislice input is an effective strategy for improving performance for 2D deep CNN denoising models. The pure 3D CNN model tends to have a better performance than the other models in terms of continuity across axial slices, but the difference was not significant compared with the 2D CNN model with the same number of slices as the input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014003
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • deep convolutional neural network
  • multislice input
  • noise reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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