A program devoted to perform the first in-vivo monochromatic breast computed tomography (BCT) is ongoing at the Elettra Synchrotron Facility. Since the synchrotron radiation provides high energy resolution and spatial coherence, phase-contrast (PhC) imaging techniques can be used. The latest high resolution BCT acquisitions of breast specimens, obtained with the propagation-based PhC approach, are herein presented as part of a wider framework, devoted to the optimization of acquisition and reconstruction parameters towards the clinical exam. Images are acquired with a state-of-the-art dead-time-free single-photon-counting CdTe detector with a 60 µm pixel size. The samples are imaged at 32 and 38 keV in continuous rotating mode, delivering 5-20 mGy of mean glandular dose (MGD). Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and spatial resolution performances are evaluated for both absorption and phase-retrieved images considering tumor/adipose tissue interfaces. We discuss two different phase-retrieval approaches, showing that a remarkable CNR increase (from 0.5 to 3.6) can be obtained without a significant loss in spatial resolution. It is shown that, even if the non-phase-retrieved image has a poorer CNR, it is useful for evaluating the spiculation of a microcalcification: in this context, absorption and phase-retrieved images have to be regarded as complementary information. Furthermore, the first full volume acquisition of a mastectomy, with a 9 cm diameter and 3 cm height, is reported. This investigation on surgical specimens indicates that monochromatic BCT with synchrotron radiation in terms of CNR, spatial resolution, scan duration and scan volume is feasible.
Luca Brombal, Bruno Golosio, Fulvia Arfelli, Deborah Bonazza, Adriano Contillo, Pasquale Delogu, Sandro Donato, Giovanni Mettivier, Piernicola Oliva, Luigi Rigon, Angelo Taibi, Giuliana Tromba, Fabrizio Zanconati, and Renata Longo, "Monochromatic breast CT: absorption and phase-retrieved images," Proc. SPIE 10573, Medical Imaging 2018: Physics of Medical Imaging, 1057320 (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 15, 2018; Published: 9 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293088.
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