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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 35 (2012), Issue 2, Pages 101-106

Balancing Image Quality and Compression Factor for Special Stains Whole Slide Images

Anurag Sharma,1 Pinky Bautista,2 and Yukako Yagi2

1NEC Laboratories America, Inc., Princeton, NJ, USA
2Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective is to find a practical balance between quality and performance for daily high volume whole slide imaging. We evaluated whole slide images created by various scanners at different compression factors to determine the best suitable quality factor (QF) needed for pathological images of special stains.

Method: We scanned two sets of eight special stains slides each at 0.50 μm/pixel resolution in Hamamatsu scanner at six and five QF levels respectively to generate 72 images which were observed at a calibrated monitor by imaging specialists, a histo-technician, and a pathologist to find the most suitable QF level for special stains in digital slides.

Results: Most special stains images were acceptable at QF 30 except for the stain Reticulin where the lowest acceptable QF was 50. The compression of images from QF 90 to QF 50 reduced the size of the images by 62.73%.

Conclusion: 0.50 μm/pixel images at QF 50 or above were found suitable 12 special stain.