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Br J Radiol. 2011 Nov;84(1007):1027-33. doi: 10.1259/bjr/83821596. Epub 2011 May 17.

Clinical dose performance of full field digital mammography in a breast screening programme.

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  • 1BreastCheck, The National Cancer Screening Service, Infirmary Road, Cork, Ireland.



BreastCheck, the Irish Breast Screening Programme, has employed three different models of a full field digital mammography (FFDM) system since its transition to a digital service in 2007. The three models from GE Healthcare, Hologic and Sectra exhibit differences in their design and function, the most significant of which include anode target/filter choice, detector technology and the type of exposure automation.


The aim of this study was to use the results from a clinical breast dose survey to examine the differences between three different FFDM models in terms of exposure selection, breast mean glandular dose (MGD) and automatic exposure control (AEC) dose contribution.


The accuracy of the dose estimation was improved by inclusion of the AEC pre-exposure dose contribution. The photon-counting system demonstrated the lowest average MGD. The GE Healthcare and Hologic flat-panel detector systems demonstrated a small but statistically significant dose difference. The pre-exposure dose contribution did not exceed 13% of the total exposure dose for any system in the survey. A comparison of the system calculated organ dose estimate from each machine with the corresponding MGD calculated from medical physics measurements indicated reasonably accurate organ dose estimates for most systems in the survey.


The results of this study provide a comprehensive assessment of the breast dose performance of current digital mammography systems in a clinical screening setting.

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