Document Type

Technical Report

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Technical Report Number



Adaptive Histogram Equalization (AHE), a method of contrast enhancement which is sensitive to local spatial information in an image, has been proposed as a solution to the problem of the inability of ordinary display devices to depict the full dynamic intensity range in some medical images. This method is automatic, reproducible, and simultaneously displays most of the information contained in the grey-scale contrast of the image. However, it has not been known whether the use of AHE causes the loss of diagnostic information relative to the commonly-used method intensity windowing. In the current work, AHE and intensity windowing are compared using psychophysical observer studies. In studies performed at North Carolina Memorial Hospital, experienced radiologists were shown clinical CT images of the chest. Into some of the images, appropriate artificial lesion were introduced; the physicians were then shown the images processed with both AHE and intensity windowing. They were asked to assess the probability that as given image contained the artificial lesion, and their accurate was measured. The results of these experiments shown that for this particular diagnostic task, there was no significant difference in the ability of the two methods to depict luminance contrast; thus, further evaluation of AHE using controlled clinical trials is indicated.


William McCartney and Bradley C. Brenton