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Br J Radiol. 1992 Dec;65(780):1097-101.

Assessment of mammographic film processor performance in a hospital and mobile screening unit.

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  • 1Eccles Street Breast Screening Centre, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


In contrast to the majority of mammographic breast screening programmes, film processing at this centre occurs on site in both hospital and mobile trailer units. Initial (1989) quality control (QC) sensitometric tests revealed a large variation in film processor performance in the mobile unit. The clinical significance of these variations was assessed and acceptance limits for processor performance determined. Abnormal mammograms were used as reference material and copied using high definition 35 mm film over a range of exposure settings. The copies were than matched with QC film density variation from the mobile unit. All films were subsequently ranked for spatial and contrast resolution. Optimal values for processing time of 2 min (equivalent to film transit time 3 min and developer time 46 s) and temperature of 36 degrees C were obtained. The widespread anomaly of reporting film transit time as processing time is highlighted. Use of mammogram copies as a means of measuring the influence of film processor variation is advocated. Careful monitoring of the mobile unit film processor performance has produced stable quality comparable with the hospital based unit. The advantages of on site film processing are outlined. The addition of a sensitometric step wedge to all mammography film stock as a means of assessing image quality is recommended.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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