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: 2.64). 02/2007; 34(1):5-24. DOI: 10.1118/1.2388574
Source: PubMed


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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    • "of noninvasive tissue characterization [3, 12–14, 29]. Also, imaging with narrow energy spectra provides lower scatter noise and as a result beneficial influence on image contrast and signal-to-noise ratio [2] [13] [14]. Heavy K-edge filtering used in this study indicated that elimination of low-energy photons was accomplished for both dual-and single-kVp techniques, leading to narrow energy bands. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to obtain modified X-ray spectra, by using appropriate filter materials for use in applications such as dual energy X-ray imaging. K-edge filtering technique was implemented in order to obtain narrow energy bands for both dual-and single-kVp techniques. Three lanthanide filters (cerium, holmium, and ytterbium) and a filter outside lanthanides (barium), with low K-edge, were used to modify the X-ray spectra. The X-ray energies that were used in this work ranged from 60 to 100 kVp. Relative root mean square error (RMSE) and the coefficient of variation were used for filter selection. The increasing filter thicknesses led to narrower energy bands. For the dual-kVp technique, 0.7916 g/cm(2) Ho, 0.9422 g/cm(2) Yb, and 1.0095 g/cm(2) Yb were selected for 70, 80, and 90 kVp, respectively. For the single-kVp technique 0.5991 g/cm(2) Ce, 0.8750 g/cm(2) Ba, and 0.8654 g/cm(2) Ce were selected for 80, 90, and 100 kVp, respectively. The filtered X-ray spectra of this work, after appropriate modification, could be used in various X-ray applications, such as dual-energy mammography, bone absorptiometry, and digital tomosynthesis.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Spectroscopy
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    • "The key factor that limits the success rate is the poor contrast between healthy and diseased tissues in the mammogram. Although X-ray CT of the breast can potentially improve diagnostic accuracy over mammography [8–10], the state-of-the-art breast CT scanner is still based on the attenuation mechanism. As a result, the use of breast CT requires an intravenous contrast medium and a high radiation dose, since elemental composition is almost uniform with little density variation in breast tissues. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although x-ray imaging is widely used in biomedical applications, biological soft tissues have small density changes, leading to low contrast resolution for attenuation-based x-ray imaging. Over the past years, x-ray small-angle scattering was studied as a new contrast mechanism to enhance subtle structural variation within the soft tissue. In this paper, we present a detection method to extract this type of x-ray scattering data, which are also referred to as dark-field signals. The key idea is to acquire an x-ray projection multiple times with varying collimation before an x-ray detector array. The projection data acquired with a collimator of a sufficiently high collimation aspect ratio contain mainly the primary beam with little scattering, while the data acquired with an appropriately reduced collimation aspect ratio include both the primary beam and small-angle scattering signals. Then, analysis of these corresponding datasets will produce desirable dark-field signals; for example, via digitally subtraction. In the numerical experiments, the feasibility of our dark-field detection technology is demonstrated in Monte Carlo simulation. The results show that the acquired dark field signals can clearly reveal the structural information of tissues in terms of Rayleigh scattering characteristics.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
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    ABSTRACT: Early detection is one of the most important factors in the survival of patients diagnosed with breast cancer. For this reason the development of improved screening mammography methods is one of primary importance. One problem that is present in standard planar mammography, which is not solved with the introduction of digital mammography, is the possible masking of lesions by normal breast tissue because of the inherent collapse of three-dimensional anatomy into a two-dimensional image. Digital tomosynthesis imaging has the potential to avoid this effect by incorporating into the acquired image information on the vertical position of the features present in the breast. Previous studies have shown that at an approximately equivalent dose, the contrast-detail trends of several tomosynthesis methods are better than those of planar mammography. By optimizing the image acquisition parameters and the tomosynthesis reconstruction algorithm, it is believed that a tomosynthesis imaging system can be developed that provides more information on the presence of lesions while maintaining or reducing the dose to the patient. Before this imaging methodology can be translated to routine clinical use, a series of issues and concerns related to tomosynthesis imaging must be addressed. This work investigates the relevant physical processes to improve our understanding and enable the introduction of this tomographic imaging method to the realm of clinical breast imaging. The processes investigated in this work included the dosimetry involved in tomosynthesis imaging, x-ray scatter in the projection images, imaging system performance, and acquisition geometry. A comprehensive understanding of the glandular dose to the breast during tomosynthesis imaging, as well as the dose distribution to most of the radiosensitive tissues in the body from planar mammography, tomosynthesis and dedicated breast computed tomography was gained. The analysis of the behavior of x-ray scatter in tomosynthesis yielded an in-depth characterization of the variation of this effect in the projection images. Finally, the theoretical modeling of a tomosynthesis imaging system, combined with the other results of this work was used to find the geometrical parameters that maximize the quality of the tomosynthesis reconstruction. Ph.D. Andrew Karellas, John N. Oshinski, Xiaoping P. Hu, Carl J. D’Orsi and Ernest V. Garcia
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