Anthropomorphic breast phantoms are useful for development and characterization of breast x-ray imaging systems. Rapid prototyping (RP) opens a new way for generating complex shapes similar to real breast tissue patterns at reasonably high resolution and a high degree of reproducibility. Such a phantom should have x-ray attenuation properties similar to adipose and fibroglandular tissue across a broad x-ray energy range. However material selection is limited to those that are compatible with the printing system, which often requires adding non-organic dopants. Fortunately, there are some off-the-shelf materials that may be suitable for breast phantoms. Here a polyamide-12/water texture phantom is being investigated, which can be used for mammography, tomosynthesis and breast CT. Polyamide-12 (PA-12) is shown to have linear attenuation coefficients across an energy range of 15 – 40 keV matching adipose tissue to within 10% effective breast density. A selective laser sintering (SLS) printer is used for manufacturing the phantom. The phantom was imaged on the Senographe Pristina (GE Healthcare, Chicago, IL), while initial assessment of 3D fidelity with the original design was performed by acquiring volume images of the phantom on a micro-CT system. A root mean distance error of 0.22 mm was seen between the micro-CT volume and the original. The PA-12 structures appeared to be slightly smaller than in the original, possibly due to infiltration of the water into the PA-12 surfaces. Power spectra measurements for mammograms of the simulated and physical phantoms both demonstrated an inverse power-law spectrum shape with exponent β= 3.72 and 3.76, respectively.
James G. Mainprize, Ann-Katherine Carton, Remy Klausz, Zhijin Li, David M. Hunter, Gordon E. Mawdsley, Serge Muller, and Martin J. Yaffe, "Development of a physical 3D anthropomorphic breast texture model using selective laser sintering rapid prototype printing," Proc. SPIE 10573, Medical Imaging 2018: Physics of Medical Imaging, 105730A (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 12, 2018; Published: 9 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293560.
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