Effects of Delayed Processing on Mammographic Phantom Object Detection

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OBJECTIVES. Delayed processing of films is a common occurrence in mobile mammography screening programs. The effects of such delayed processing on radiologists' detection of phantom test objects are investigated.METHODS. Twelve screen-film combinations were exposed using a phantom and developed after delays of 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 days. Films were scored by three board-certified radiologists specializing in mammography, based on visibility of calcifications, masses, fibrils, and line pairs.RESULTS. Variance analyses of mean scores indicate that, across screen-film combinations, there are no statistically significant decreases in object detection associated with delayed processing. The analyses do indicate, however, a statistically significant difference in scores unrelated to delay, attributable to the screen-film combination used.CONCLUSIONS. Delayed processing of mammography film does not lead to a decrease in the visibility of phantom test objects, despite large decreases in overall image optical density.

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