Evaluating the impact of X-ray spectral shape on image quality in flat-panel CT breast imaging

Department of Radiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Massachusetts 01655, USA.
Medical Physics (Impact Factor: 3.01). 02/2007; 34(1):5-24. DOI: 10.1118/1.2388574
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in exploring the feasibility of dedicated computed tomography (CT) breast imaging using a flat-panel digital detector in a truncated cone-beam imaging geometry. Preliminary results are promising and it appears as if three-dimensional tomographic imaging of the breast has great potential for reducing the masking effect of superimposed parenchymal structure typically observed with conventional mammography. In this study, a mathematical framework used for determining optimal design and acquisition parameters for such a CT breast imaging system is described. The ideal observer signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is used as a figure of merit, under the assumptions that the imaging system is linear and shift invariant. Computation of the ideal observer SNR used a parallel-cascade model to predict signal and noise propagation through the detector, as well as a realistic model of the lesion detection task in breast imaging. For all evaluations, the total mean glandular dose for a CT breast imaging study was constrained to be approximately equivalent to that of a two-view conventional mammography study. The framework presented was used to explore the effect of x-ray spectral shape across an extensive range of kVp settings, filter material types, and filter thicknesses. The results give an indication of how spectral shape can affect image quality in flat-panel CT breast imaging.

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