Projection-Based cascaded U-Net model for MR image reconstruction

Aghabiglou A., Ekşioğlu E. M.

Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, vol.207, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 207
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2021.106151
  • Journal Name: Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Applied Science & Technology Source, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, EMBASE, INSPEC, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging, Image reconstruction, Deep learning, Cascaded networks, U-Net, Updated data consistency, CONVOLUTIONAL NEURAL-NETWORKS
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021 Elsevier B.V.Background and Objective: Background and Objective: Recent studies in deep learning reveal that the U-Net stands out among the diverse set of deep models as an effective network structure, especially for imaging inverse problems. Initially, the U-Net model was developed to solve segmentation problems for biomedical images while using an annotated dataset. In this paper, we will study a novel application of the U-Net structure for the important inverse problem of MRI reconstruction. Deep networks are particularly efficient for the speed-up of the MR image reconstruction process by decreasing the data acquisition time, and they can significantly reduce the aliasing artifacts caused by the undersampling in the k-space. Our aim is to develop a novel and efficient cascaded U-Net framework for reconstructing MR images from undersampled k-space data. The new framework should have improved reconstruction performance when compared to competing methodologies. Methods: In this paper, a novel cascaded framework utilizing the U-Net as a sub-block is being proposed. The introduced U-Net cascade structure is applied to the magnetic resonance image reconstruction problem. The connection between the cascaded U-Nets is realized in the form of a recently developed projection-based updated data consistency layer. The novel structure is implemented in the PyTorch environment, which is one of the standards for deep learning implementations. The recently created fastMRI dataset which forms an important benchmark for MRI reconstruction is used for training and testing purposes. Results: We present simulation results comparing the novel method with a variety of competitive deep networks. The new cascaded U-Net structures PSNR performance stands on average 1.28 dB higher than the baseline U-Net. The improvement, when compared to the standard CNN, is on average 3.32 dB. Conclusions: The proposed cascaded U-Net configuration results in an improved reconstruction performance when compared to the CNN, the cascaded CNN, and also the singular U-Net structures, where the singular U-Net forms the baseline reconstruction method from the fastMRI package. The use of the projection-based updated data consistency layer also leads to improved quantitative (including SSIM, PSNR, and NMSE results) and qualitative results when compared to the use of the conventional data consistency layer.