Dual-energy contrast-enhanced breast tomosynthesis: optimization of beam quality for dose and image quality.
Dual-energy contrast-enhanced breast tomosynthesis is a promising technique to obtain three-dimensional functional information from the breast with high resolution and speed. To optimize this new method, this study searched for the beam quality that maximized image quality in terms of mass detection performance. A digital tomosynthesis system was modeled using a fast ray-tracing algorithm, which created simulated projection images by tracking photons through a voxelized anatomical breast phantom containing iodinated lesions. The single-energy images were combined into dual-energy images through a weighted log subtraction process. The weighting factor was optimized to minimize anatomical noise, while the dose distribution was chosen to minimize quantum noise. The dual-energy images were analyzed for the signal difference to noise ratio (SdNR) of iodinated masses. The fast ray-tracing explored 523 776 dual-energy combinations to identify which yields optimum mass SdNR. The ray-tracing results were verified using a Monte Carlo model for a breast tomosynthesis system with a selenium-based flat-panel detector. The projection images from our voxelized breast phantom were obtained at a constant total glandular dose. The projections were combined using weighted log subtraction and reconstructed using commercial reconstruction software. The lesion SdNR was measured in the central reconstructed slice. The SdNR performance varied markedly across the kVp and filtration space. Ray-tracing results indicated that the mass SdNR was maximized with a high-energy tungsten beam at 49 kVp with 92.5 µm of copper filtration and a low-energy tungsten beam at 49 kVp with 95 µm of tin filtration. This result was consistent with Monte Carlo findings. This mammographic technique led to a mass SdNR of 0.92 ± 0.03 in the projections and 3.68 ± 0.19 in the reconstructed slices. These values were markedly higher than those for non-optimized techniques. Our findings indicate that dual-energy breast tomosynthesis can be performed optimally at 49 kVp with alternative copper and tin filters, with reconstruction following weighted subtraction. The optimum technique provides best visibility of iodine against structured breast background in dual-energy contrast-enhanced breast tomosynthesis.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)