Mammotomography with pinhole incomplete circular orbit SPECT.
UNLABELLED: Dedicated mammotomography with pinhole incomplete circular orbit (PICO) SPECT imaging of an uncompressed pendant breast was evaluated with small, very-high-stopping-power pinhole apertures. Comparisons were made with planar pinhole scintimammography. Enhanced 3-dimensional imaging performance with very-high-stopping-power apertures is thought to ultimately yield improved sensitivities for lesion detection and identification in breast disease. METHODS: Pinhole collimators made of high-density and high atomic number (184)W or depleted (238)U, with aperture diameters from 1 to 4 mm, were used to image 0.6- and 1.0-cm-diameter spherical lesions in a pendulous, uncompressed breast phantom in planar and PICO-SPECT modes. The breast was centered on the horizontal axis of rotation of an incomplete circular orbit. Lesion, breast and body, and myocardial activities (L:B:M) were included in the phantoms to simulate clinical imaging conditions with (99m)Tc (140 keV). Lesion contrasts and signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) for all apertures were determined for near clinical acquisition times for L:B:M ratios of 12:1:20 and 7:1:25. A set of minidisks inserted in the breast phantom was scanned to determine sampling limitations at depth from the nipple. In an initial study, a patient with biopsy-confirmed breast carcinoma was injected with 960 MBq (99m)Tc-tetrofosmin and scanned 2 h later with planar pinhole and PICO-SPECT techniques. RESULTS: Overall, for PICO-SPECT imaging there were small differences in measured counting rate sensitivity (4.9%) and lesion contrast (8.8%) with larger SNR differences (20.8%) between tungsten and depleted uranium pinhole materials at this energy and these lesion sizes. Backgrounds from simulated myocardial uptake had minor contributions in all reconstructed image volumes because of the rapid sensitivity fall-off for pinhole apertures. An optimal aperture diameter between 2 and 3 mm was determined from peak SNR, indicating that these aperture sizes may have the best performance for lesions as small as 0.6 cm in diameter with activity concentration ratios of (99m)Tc similar to those currently seen in patients. Both lesions were visualized with PICO-SPECT better than with planar pinhole imaging, with respective contrast improvements >20 times the values obtained from planar imaging for the same pinholes. In the patient study, higher contrast (>6) visualization of the active tumor periphery was obtained with PICO-SPECT than with planar imaging. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the enhanced spatial resolution of smaller apertures outweighs the loss in sensitivity in small lesion identification with PICO-SPECT. Although the imaging differences between investigated aperture types are small and some limitations to this imaging approach exist, dedicated PICO-SPECT of the breast appears to be an improved technique compared with conventional planar pinhole scintimammography. This technique provides enhanced contrast and SNR for imaging small lesions with the high-resolution pinhole apertures along with 3-dimensional localization of the lesions.
Tornai, MP; Bowsher, JE; Jaszczak, RJ; Pieper, BC; Greer, KL; Hardenbergh, PH; Coleman, RE
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