A deep learning technique to enhance 3D images of the complex-valued permittivity of the breast obtained via microwave imaging is investigated. The developed technique is an extension of one created to enhance 2D images. We employ a 3D Convolutional Neural Network, based on the U-Net architecture, that takes in 3D images obtained using the Contrast-Source Inversion (CSI) method and attempts to produce the true 3D image of the permittivity. The training set consists of 3D CSI images, along with the true numerical phantom images from which the microwave scattered field utilized to create the CSI reconstructions was synthetically generated. Each numerical phantom varies with respect to the size, number, and location of tumors within the fibroglandular region. The reconstructed permittivity images produced by the proposed 3D U-Net show that the network is not only able to remove the artifacts that are typical of CSI reconstructions, but it also enhances the detectability of the tumors. We test the trained U-Net with 3D images obtained from experimentally collected microwave data as well as with images obtained synthetically. Significantly, the results illustrate that although the network was trained using only images obtained from synthetic data, it performed well with images obtained from both synthetic and experimental data. Quantitative evaluations are reported using Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curves for the tumor detectability and RMS error for the enhancement of the reconstructions.
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