Software Phantom with Realistic Speckle Modeling for Validation of Image Analysis Methods in Echocardiography
Computer-assisted processing and interpretation of medical ultrasound images is one of the most challenging tasks within image analysis. Physical phenomena in ultrasonographic images, e.g., the characteristic speckle noise and shadowing effects, make the majority of standard methods from image analysis non optimal. Furthermore, validation of adapted computer vision methods proves to be difficult due to missing ground truth information. There is no widely accepted software phantom in the community and existing software phantoms are not flexible enough to support the use of specific speckle models for different tissue types, e.g., muscle and fat tissue. In this work we propose an anatomical software phantom with a realistic speckle pattern simulation to fill this gap and provide a flexible tool for validation purposes in medical ultrasound image analysis. We discuss the generation of speckle patterns and perform statistical analysis of the simulated textures to obtain quantitative measures of the realism and accuracy regarding the resulting textures.