Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) has shown a great potential as a complementary imaging tool in the diagnosis of skin diseases. Speckle noise is the most prominent artifact present in OCT images and could limit the interpretation and detection capabilities. In this work we propose a new speckle reduction process and compare it with various denoising filters with high edge-preserving potential, using several sets of dermatological OCT B-scans. To validate the performance we used a custom-designed spectral domain OCT and two different data set groups. The first group consisted in five datasets of a single B-scan captured N times (with N<20), the second were five 3D volumes of 25 B-scans. As quality metrics we used signal to noise (SNR), contrast to noise (CNR) and equivalent number of looks (ENL) ratios. Our results show that a process based on a combination of a 2D enhanced sigma digital filter and a wavelet compounding method achieves the best results in terms of the improvement of the quality metrics. In the first group of individual B-scans we achieved improvements in SNR, CNR and ENL of 16.87 dB, 2.19 and 328 respectively; for the 3D volume datasets the improvements were 15.65 dB, 3.44 and 1148. Our results suggest that the proposed enhancement process may significantly reduce speckle, increasing SNR, CNR and ENL and reducing the number of extra acquisitions of the same frame.
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