Original Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 6, P993-999, November 2013

Download started.


Optimization of the key imaging parameters for detection of microcalcifications in a newly developed digital breast tomosynthesis system



      The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of different acquisition parameters and to characterize their relationships in order to improve the detection of microcalcifications using digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).

      Materials and methods

      DBT imaging parameters were optimized using 32 different acquisition sets with 6 angular ranges (±5°, ±10°, ±13°, ±17°, ±21°, and ±25°) and 8 projection views (PVs) (5, 11, 15, 21, 25, 31, 41, and 51 projections). To investigate the effects of variable angular dose distribution, the acquisition sets were evaluated with delivering more dose toward the central views.


      Our results show that a wide angular range improved the reconstructed image quality in the z-direction. If a large number of projections are acquired, then electronic noise may dominate the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) due to reduced radiation dose per projection. With delivering more dose toward the central views, it was found that the vertical resolution was reduced with increasing dose in the central PVs. On the other hand, the CNR clearly increased with increasing concentration of dose distribution in central views.


      Although it was found that increasing angular range improved the vertical resolution, it was also found that the image quality of microcalcifications in the in-focus plane did not improve by increasing the noise due to greater effective breast thickness. Angular dose distributions, with more dose delivered to the central views, generally yielded a higher quality factor than uniform dose distributions.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Clinical Imaging
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Pisano ED
        • Gatsonis C
        • Hendrick E
        • et al.
        Diagnostic performance of digital versus film mammography for breast cancer screening.
        N Engl J Med. 2005; 353: 1773-1783
        • Tabar L
        • Fagerberg G
        • Chen HH
        • et al.
        Efficacy of breast cancer screening by age. New results from the Swedish two-county trial..
        Cancer. 1995; 75: 2507-2517
        • Fletcher SW
        • Elmore JG
        Clinical practice. mammographic screening for breast cancer.
        N Engl J Med. 2003; 348: 1672-1680
        • Niklason LT
        • Christian BT
        • Niklason LE
        • et al.
        Digital tomosynthesis in breast imaging.
        Radiology. 1997; 205: 399-406
        • Tabar L
        • Vitak B
        • Chen HH
        • et al.
        Beyond randomized controlled trials: organized mammographic screening substantially reduces breast carcinoma mortality.
        Cancer. 2001; 91: 1724-1731
        • Wu T
        • Stewart A
        • Stanton M
        • et al.
        Tomographic mammography using a limited number of low-dose cone-beam projection images.
        Med Phys. 2003; 30: 365-380
        • Suryanarayanan S
        • Karellas A
        • Vedantham S
        • et al.
        Comparison of tomosynthesis methods used with digital mammography.
        Acad Radiol. 2000; 7: 1085-1097
        • Zhao B
        • Zhao W
        Three-dimensional linear system analysis for breast tomosynthesis.
        Med Phys. 2008; 35: 5219-5232
        • Wu T
        • Zhang J
        • Moore R
        • et al.
        Digital tomosynthesis mammography using a parallel maximum-likelihood reconstruction method.
        Proc SPIE. 2004; 5368: 1-11
        • Wu T
        • Moore RH
        • Rafferty EA
        • et al.
        A comparison of reconstruction algorithms for breast tomosyntheis.
        Med Phys. 2004; 31: 2636-2647
        • Das M
        • Gifford HC
        • O’Connor JM
        • et al.
        Evaluation of a variable dose acquisition technique for microcalcification and mass detection in digital breast tomosynthesis.
        Med Phys. 2009; 35: 1976-1984
        • Karellas A
        • Lo JY
        • Orton CG
        Point/counterpoint: cone beam x-ray CT will be superior to digital x-ray tomosynthesis in imaging the breast and delineating cancer.
        Med Phys. 2008; 35: 409-411
        • Zhou J
        • Zhao B
        • Zhao W
        A computer simulation platform for the optimization of a breast tomosynthesis system.
        Med Phys. 2007; 34: 1098-1109
        • Chawla AS
        • Samei E
        • Saunders RS
        • et al.
        A mathematical model platform for optimizing a multiprojection breast imaging system.
        Med Phys. 2008; 35: 1337-1345
        • Chawla AS
        • Lo JY
        • Baker JA
        • et al.
        Optimized image acquisition for breast tomosynthesis in projection and reconstgruction space.
        Med Phys. 2009; 36: 4859-4869
        • Reiser I
        • Nishikawa RM
        Task-based assessment of breast tomosynthesis: effect of acquisition parameters and quantum noise.
        Med Phys. 2010; 37: 1591-1600
        • Sechopoulos I
        • Ghetti C
        Optimization of the acquisition geometry in digital tomosynthesis of the breast.
        Med Phys. 2009; 36: 1199-1207
        • Sechopoulos I
        • Suryanarayanan S
        • Vedantham S
        • et al.
        Computation of the glandular radiation dose in digital tomosynthesis of the breast.
        Med Phys. 2007; 34: 221-232
        • Sechopoulos I
        • D’Orsi C
        Glandular radiation dose in tomosynthesis of the breast using tungsten targets.
        J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2008; 9: 161-171
      1. Fessler JA. Statistical image reconstruction methods for transmission tomography. Medical image processing and analysis, The International Society for Optical Engineering 2000;2:1–70

        • Sotthivirat S
        • Fessler JA
        Image recovery using partitioned separable paraboloidal surrogate coordinate ascent algorithms.
        IEEE Trans Image Process. 2002; 11: 306-317
        • Zhang Y
        • Chan HP
        • Sahiner B
        • et al.
        A comparative study of limited-angle cone-beam reconstruction methods for breast tomosynthesis.
        Med Phys. 2006; 33: 3781-3795
        • Hu YH
        • Zhao B
        • Zhao W
        Image artifacts in digital breast tomosynthesis: investigation of the effects of system geometry and reconstruction parameters using a linear system approach.
        Med Phys. 2008; 35: 5242-5252
        • Li B
        • Avinash GB
        • Uppaluri R
        • Eberhard JW
        • Claus BEH
        The impact of acquisition angular range on the z-direction of radiographic tomosynthesis.
        Int Congress Ser. 2004; 1268: 13-18
        • Mainprize JG
        • Bloomquist AK
        • Kempston MP
        • et al.
        Resolution at oblique incidence angles of a flat panel imager for breast tomosynthesis.
        Med Phys. 2006; 33: 3159-3164
        • Gersh JA
        • Wiant DB
        • Best RC
        • et al.
        Improved volumetric imaging in tomosynthesis using combined multiaxial sweeps.
        J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2010; 11: 181-195