Chest tomosynthesis: technical principles and clinical update.
Digital tomosynthesis is a radiographic technique that can produce an arbitrary number of section images of a patient from a single pass of the X-ray tube. It utilizes a conventional X-ray tube, a flat-panel detector, a computer-controlled tube mover, and special reconstruction algorithms to produce section images. While it does not have the depth resolution of computed tomography (CT), tomosynthesis provides some of the tomographic benefits of CT but at lower cost and radiation dose than CT. Compared to conventional chest radiography, chest tomosynthesis results in improved visibility of normal structures such as vessels, airway and spine. By reducing visual clutter from overlying normal anatomy, it also enhances detection of small lung nodules. This review article outlines the components of a tomosynthesis system, discusses results regarding improved lung nodule detection from the recent literature, and presents examples of nodule detection from a clinical trial in human subjects. Possible implementation strategies for use in clinical chest imaging are discussed.
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