Purpose: The first clinical facility for synchrotron radiation (SR) mammography is now operative at the SYRMEP beamline of ELETTRA, the SR facility in Trieste, Italy. The mammographic facility and the preliminary results of the clinical trial are presented in this contribution.
Method and Materials: The distance between the SR source and the patient is about 30 m; the main features of the X-ray beam are: monochromaticity at ~0.2% bandwith in the energy range 8-35 keV, photon flux of about 108 ph/(mm2 s) and dimensions of 21 cm x 3.5 mm at the compressed breast. An innovative dosimetric system allows the on-line dose control during the examination. The images are acquired by scanning the patient, in prone position, in front of the stationary laminar beam; the average scanning time is about 10 s. The detector is a screen film system; it is at ~2 m from the breast in order to fulfil the so-called Phase Contrast (PhC) requirements. The breast thickness and glandularity defines the optimal beam energy for each examination. The patients are enrolled by radiologists, after routine examinations, on the basis of BI-RADS classification, according the research program approved by the local Ethical Committee.
Results: This communication concerns the first 9 patients underwent the SR PhC mammography; the images match the quality obtained in previous in vitro studies. With reference to conventional mammography the diagnostic quality of the radiological images is better, without increasing the delivered dose to the patient.