UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Dedicated breast CT: geometric design considerations to maximize posterior breast coverage

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Breast Neoplasms; Imaging, Three-Dimensional; Mammography; Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted; Tomography, X-Ray Computed


Neoplasms | Oncology | Radiology


An Institutional Review Board-approved protocol was used to quantify breast tissue inclusion in 52 women, under conditions simulating both craniocaudal (CC) and mediolateral oblique (MLO) views in mammography, dedicated breast CT in the upright subject position, and dedicated breast CT in the prone subject position. Using skin as a surrogate for the underlying breast tissue, the posterior aspect of the breast that is aligned with the chest-wall edge of the breast support in a screen-film mammography system was marked with the study participants positioned for CC and MLO views. The union of skin marks with the study participants positioned for CC and MLO views was considered to represent chest-wall tissue available for imaging with mammography and served as the reference standard. For breast CT, a prone stereotactic breast biopsy unit and a custom-fabricated barrier were used to simulate conditions during prone and upright breast CT, respectively. For the same breast marked on the mammography system, skin marks were made along the breast periphery that was just anterior to the apertures of the prone biopsy unit and the upright barrier. The differences in skin marks between subject positioning simulating breast CT (prone, upright) and mammography were quantified at six anatomic locations. For each location, at least one study participant had a skin mark from breast CT (prone, upright) posterior to mammography. However for all study participants, there was at least one anatomic location where the skin mark from mammography was posterior to that from breast CT (prone, upright) positioning. The maximum amount by which the skin mark from mammography was posterior to breast CT (prone and upright) over all six locations was quantified for each study participant and pair-wise comparison did not exhibit statistically significant difference between prone and upright breast CT (paired t- test, p = 0.4). Quantitatively, for 95% of the study participants the skin mark from mammography was posterior to breast CT (prone or upright) by at the most 9 mm over all six locations. Based on the study observations, geometric design considerations targeting chest-wall coverage with breast CT equivalent to mammography, wherein part of the x-ray beam images through the swale during breast CT are provided. Assuming subjects can extend their chest in to a swale, the optimal swale-depth required to achieve equivalent coverage with breast CT images as mammograms for 95% of the subjects varies in the range of approximately 30-50 mm for clinical prototypes and was dependent on the system geometry.

DOI of Published Version



Phys Med Biol. 2013 Jun 21;58(12):4099-118. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/12/4099. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Physics in medicine and biology

PubMed ID