Objective measurements of image quality in synchrotron radiation phase-contrast imaging versus digital mammography
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Phase-contrast mammography with synchrotron radiation is an innovative X-ray imaging practice that improves the identification of breast lesions. Previous studies have proven the superiority of the mammography images taken in the phase-contrast modality using synchrotron radiation beams as compared with images taken in conventional mammography by subjective analyses. However, to our knowledge, no previous study has compared different acquisition systems in order to quantify this improvement by means of objective robust indicators. In this research, we intend to quantify the superiority of phase-contrast imaging by means of objective metrics of image quality.
Images from the American College of Radiology Mammographic Accreditation Phantom were obtained at hospitals, in two digital mammography equipment and at the Elettra synchrotron radiation facility (Trieste, Italy), using free space propagation phase-contrast modality. Regions of interest were selected to analyze image quality at the fibers (phase object) and masses (area object) simulated on the phantom by means of the signal-to-noise ratio, the figure of merit, the contrast and the edge visibility.
The image contrast and edge visibility were significantly higher at the phase-contrast modality as compared with digital mammography equipment. The figure of merit using phase-contrast modality was higher for the fibers and comparable for the masses.
The results showed an improvement of the contrast and edge visibility in phase-contrast images. These improvements may be important in the detection of small lesions and details.
KeywordsMammography Phase contrast Synchrotron radiation Image quality
The author would like to thanks to ICTP for supporting this research, and Synchrotron ELETTRA and Trieste hospitals for contributing with data collection.
Conflict of interest
All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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