Importance of point-by-point back projection correction for isocentric motion in digital breast tomosynthesis: relevance to morphology of structures such as microcalcifications.
Digital breast tomosynthesis is a three-dimensional imaging technique that provides an arbitrary set of reconstruction planes in the breast from a limited-angle series of projection images acquired while the x-ray tube moves. Traditional shift-and-add (SAA) tomosynthesis reconstruction is a common mathematical method to line up each projection image based on its shifting amount to generate reconstruction slices. With parallel-path geometry of tube motion, the path of the tube lies in a plane parallel to the plane of the detector. The traditional SAA algorithm gives shift amounts for each projection image calculated only along the direction of x-ray tube movement. However, with the partial isocentric motion of the x-ray tube in breast tomosynthesis, small objects such as microcalcifications appear blurred (for instance, about 1-4 pixels in blur for a microcalcification in a human breast) in traditional SAA images in the direction perpendicular to the direction of tube motion. Some digital breast tomosynthesis algorithms reported in the literature utilize a traditional one-dimensional SAA method that is not wholly suitable for isocentric motion. In this paper, a point-by-point back projection (BP) method is described and compared with traditional SAA for the important clinical task of evaluating morphology of small objects such as microcalcifications. Impulse responses at different three-dimensional locations with five different combinations of imaging acquisition parameters were investigated. Reconstruction images of microcalcifications in a human subject were also evaluated. Results showed that with traditional SAA and 45 degrees view angle of tube movement with respect to the detector, at the same height above the detector, the in-plane blur artifacts were obvious for objects farther away from x-ray source. In a human subject, the appearance of calcifications was blurred in the direction orthogonal to the tube motion with traditional SAA. With point-by-point BP, the appearance of calcifications was sharper. The point-by-point BP method demonstrated improved rendition of microcalcifications in the direction perpendicular to the tube motion direction. With wide angles or for imaging of larger breasts, this point-by-point BP rather than the traditional SAA should also be considered as the basis of further deblurring algorithms that work in conjunction with the BP method.
Chen, Y; Lo, JY; Dobbins, JT
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