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Br J Radiol. 2006 Feb;79(938):123-9.

Image quality and breast dose of 24 screen-film combinations for mammography.

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Medical Physics Department, Medical School, University of Athens, 75 Mikras Asias, 115 27, Athens, Greece.


In this study the effect of different mammographic screen-film combinations on image quality and breast dose, and the correlation between the various image quality parameters, breast dose and the sensitometric parameters of a film were investigated. Three Agfa (MR5-II, HDR, HT), two Kodak (Min-R M, Min-R 2000), one Fuji (AD-M), one Konica (CM-H) and one Ferrania (HM plus) single emulsion mammographic films were combined with three intensifying screens (Agfa HDS, Kodak Min-R 2190 and Fuji AD-MA). The film characteristics were determined by sensitometry, while the image quality and the dose to the breast of the resulting 24 screen-film combinations were assessed using a mammography quality control phantom. For each combination, three images of the phantom were acquired with optical density within three different ranges. Two observers assessed the quality of the 72 phantom images obtained, while the breast dose was calculated from the exposure data required for each image. Large differences among screen-film combinations in terms of image quality and breast dose were identified however, that, could not be correlated with the film's sensitometric characteristics. All films presented the best resolution when combined with the HDS screen at the expense of speed, and the largest speed when combined with the AD-MA screen, without degradation of the overall image quality. However, an ideal screen-film combination presenting the best image quality with the least dose was not identified. It is also worth mentioning that the best performance for a film was not necessarily obtained when this was combined with the screen provided by the same manufacturer. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that comparison of films based on their sensitometric characteristics are of limited value for clinical practice, as their performance is strongly affected by the screens with which they are combined.

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