SIMULATING LOCAL DENSE AREAS USING PMMA TO ASSESS AUTOMATIC EXPOSURE CONTROL IN DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY

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Abstract

Current digital mammography (DM) X-ray systems are equipped with advanced automatic exposure control (AEC) systems, which determine the exposure factors depending on breast composition. In the supplement of the European guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis, a phantom-based test is included to evaluate the AEC response to local dense areas in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). This study evaluates the proposed test in terms of SNR and dose for four DM systems. The glandular fraction represented by the local dense area was assessed by analytic calculations. It was found that the proposed test simulates adipose to fully glandular breast compositions in attenuation. The doses associated with the phantoms were found to match well with the patient dose distribution. In conclusion, after some small adaptations, the test is valuable for the assessment of the AEC performance in terms of both SNR and dose.

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