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Compression induced contrast change in X-ray mammograms: A simulation study

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X-ray mammograms are taken with compressing the breast to mitigate the x-ray scatter effect. When the breast is compressed by the compressing plate, the breast tissues are deformed according to the elasticity distribution inside the breast and the pressure distribution between the compressing plate and the breast surface. If multiple mammograms are taken with varying the compressing force, the projection images of the compressed breast will be also changing with respect to the compressing force. Tumor tissues, which are known to be much stiffer than normal breast tissues, would have smaller deformation as compared to the normal background tissues, hence, the x-ray image intensity at the tumor region would change less than the background tissues. In this study, we try to find out elasticity related contrast from multiple mammography images taken with different compression levels.


We have developed FEM models of a breast and a compressing device, and calculated breast deformation for different degrees of breast compression. We have calculated x-ray projection images of deformed breasts and we have compared pixel intensity changes at the tumor mimicking regions and the normal background regions.


We have found that the x-ray image intensity changes at the tumor region are less than those at the nearby background region by factor of 0.66∼0.84, which could induce detectable contrast change. Conclusions We expect the compression induced contrast change may be used for the development of x-ray elastography methods.

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Correspondence to Soo Yeol Lee.

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Aowlad Hossain, A.B.M., Cho, M.H. & Lee, S.Y. Compression induced contrast change in X-ray mammograms: A simulation study. Biomed. Eng. Lett. 1, 49–55 (2011).

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