Study on patient dosimetry and image quality in digital mammography
Xavier, Aline Carvalho da Silva; Andrade, Marcos Ely Almeida; Pinto, Beatriz Villa-Chan Cantalupo; Barros, Vinícius Saito Monteiro de; Kramer, Richard; Khoury, Helen Jamil
Introduction: Digital mammography present many advantages in comparison to conventional mammography, such as high dynamic range and the post-processing of acquired images. One problem is that protocols may not be optimized, resulting in higher absorbed doses to patients. The objective of this work is to evaluate image quality and to estimate mean glandular doses (MGD) in patients submitted to mammography examinations with three digital systems and one screen-film system in Recife, Brazil. Methods: To estimate the MGD, the parameters used to acquire images of 5475 patients, with ages between 40 and 64 years and compressed breasts between 2 and 9 cm, were registered. The MGD was calculated by multiplying the incident air kerma with conversion coefficients depending on the anode/filter, breast glandularity and half-value layer. The image quality evaluation of the digital systems was made using objective and subjective European criteria. Results: The results showed MGDs in the range of 0.4-10.3 mGy and the higher values were observed with digital systems. It was also observed that in the digital systems the use of compression force is not adequate and the irradiation parameters are not optimized. The images failed to reproduce the pectoral muscle and the contrast-to-noise ratio was not adequate for one system, indicating the need to improve the patient’s positioning and the exposure parameters. Conclusion: It can be concluded that the use of non-optimized irradiation parameters is causing the higher doses with digital systems, highlighting the insufficient compression force.
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