Effects of processing conditions on mammographic image quality.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Any given mammographic film will exhibit changes in sensitometric response and image resolution as processing variables are altered. Developer type, immersion time, and temperature have been shown to affect the contrast of the mammographic image and thus lesion visibility. The authors evaluated the effect of altering processing variables, including film type, developer type, and immersion time, on the visibility of masses, fibrils, and speaks in a standard mammographic phantom. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Images of a phantom obtained with two screen types (Kodak Min-R and Fuji) and five film types (Kodak Min-R M, Min-R E, Min-R H; Fuji UM-MA HC, and DuPont Microvision-C) were processed with five different developer chemicals (Autex SE, DuPont HSD, Kodak RP, Picker 3-7-90, and White Mountain) at four different immersion times (24, 30, 36, and 46 seconds). Processor chemical activity was monitored with sensitometric strips, and developer temperatures were continuously measured. The film images were reviewed by two board-certified radiologists and two physicists with expertise in mammography quality control and were scored based on the visibility of calcifications, masses, and fibrils. RESULTS: Although the differences in the absolute scores were not large, the Kodak Min-R M and Fuji films exhibited the highest scores, and images developed in White Mountain and Autex chemicals exhibited the highest scores. CONCLUSION: For any film, several processing chemicals may be used to produce images of similar quality. Extended processing may no longer be necessary.
Braeuning, MP; Cooper, HW; O'Brien, S; Burns, CB; Washburn, DB; Schell, MJ; Pisano, ED
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