Improvement of nerve imaging speed with coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering rigid endoscope using deep-learning noise reduction


A coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) rigid endoscope was developed to visualize peripheral nerves without labeling for nerve-sparing endoscopic surgery. The developed CARS endoscope had a problem with low imaging speed, i.e. low imaging rate. In this study, we demonstrate that noise reduction with deep learning boosts the nerve imaging speed with CARS endoscopy. We employ fine-tuning and ensemble learning and compare deep learning models with three different architectures. In the fine-tuning strategy, deep learning models are pre-trained with CARS microscopy nerve images and retrained with CARS endoscopy nerve images to compensate for the small dataset of CARS endoscopy images. We propose using the equivalent imaging rate (EIR) as a new evaluation metric for quantitatively and directly assessing the imaging rate improvement by deep learning models. The highest EIR of the deep learning model was 7.0 images/min, which was 5 times higher than that of the raw endoscopic image of 1.4 images/min. We believe that the improvement of the nerve imaging speed will open up the possibility of reducing postoperative dysfunction by intraoperative nerve identification.

Scientific Reports