Combined image-processing algorithms for improved optical coherence tomography of prostate nerves

Shahab Chitchian, Thomas P. Weldon, Michael A. Fiddy, Nathaniel M. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Cavernous nerves course along the surface of the prostate gland and are responsible for erectile function. These nerves are at risk of injury during surgical removal of a cancerous prostate gland. In this work, a combination of segmentation, denoising, and edge detection algorithms are applied to time-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of rat prostate to improve identification of cavernous nerves. First, OCT images of the prostate are segmented to differentiate the cavernous nerves from the prostate gland. Then, a locally adaptive denoising algorithm using a dual-tree complex wavelet transform is applied to reduce speckle noise. Finally, edge detection is used to provide deeper imaging of the prostate gland. Combined application of these three algorithms results in improved signalto- noise ratio, imaging depth, and automatic identification of the cavernous nerves, which may be of direct benefit for use in laparoscopic and robotic nerve-sparing prostate cancer surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number046014
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Cavernous nerve
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostate gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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