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Med Phys. 2009 Nov;36(11):4859-69.

Optimized image acquisition for breast tomosynthesis in projection and reconstruction space.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Duke Advanced Imaging Laboratories, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27705, USA.


Breast tomosynthesis has been an exciting new development in the field of breast imaging. While the diagnostic improvement via tomosynthesis is notable, the full potential of tomosynthesis has not yet been realized. This may be attributed to the dependency of the diagnostic quality of tomosynthesis on multiple variables, each of which needs to be optimized. Those include dose, number of angular projections, and the total angular span of those projections. In this study, the authors investigated the effects of these acquisition parameters on the overall diagnostic image quality of breast tomosynthesis in both the projection and reconstruction space. Five mastectomy specimens were imaged using a prototype tomosynthesis system. 25 angular projections of each specimen were acquired at 6.2 times typical single-view clinical dose level. Images at lower dose levels were then simulated using a noise modification routine. Each projection image was supplemented with 84 simulated 3 mm 3D lesions embedded at the center of 84 nonoverlapping ROIs. The projection images were then reconstructed using a filtered backprojection algorithm at different combinations of acquisition parameters to investigate which of the many possible combinations maximizes the performance. Performance was evaluated in terms of a Laguerre-Gauss channelized Hotelling observer model-based measure of lesion detectability. The analysis was also performed without reconstruction by combining the model results from projection images using Bayesian decision fusion algorithm. The effect of acquisition parameters on projection images and reconstructed slices were then compared to derive an optimization rule for tomosynthesis. The results indicated that projection images yield comparable but higher performance than reconstructed images. Both modes, however, offered similar trends: Performance improved with an increase in the total acquisition dose level and the angular span. Using a constant dose level and angular span, the performance rolled off beyond a certain number of projections, indicating that simply increasing the number of projections in tomosynthesis may not necessarily improve its performance. The best performance for both projection images and tomosynthesis slices was obtained for 15-17 projections spanning an angular are of approximately 45 degrees--the maximum tested in our study, and for an acquisition dose equal to single-view mammography. The optimization framework developed in this framework is applicable to other reconstruction techniques and other multiprojection systems.

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