Mammo, DBT dose tracking system yields insights

Wednesday, December 3 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK22-04 | Room S404AB
In this session, a group from the University of Pennsylvania will reveal findings gathered from the use of their automated dose tracking system for mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) studies.

Motivated to clarify the factors that contribute to radiation dose in breast imaging, the institution has been analyzing breast dose data in its clinical practice for about a year, according to senior author Andrew Maidment, PhD.

"Given that breast imaging is largely performed on asymptomatic women on an annual basis, the amount of radiation used needs to be carefully monitored and held against some standard," Maidment told

While the American College of Radiology's (ACR) mammography accreditation provides a standard for the dose of a phantom, there is no such standard for human exposures, Maidment said. As a result, the group developed its own internal automated tracking software, which has yielded a number of insights.

"We have found, not surprisingly, that dose is greater for women with dense breasts and women with larger (greater thickness when compressed) breasts," he said. "However, the trend of dose with size and density is manufacturer- and model-dependent."

In addition, the demographics of women vary between locations. These factors make it difficult to compare different sites without detailed analysis, Maidment said.

Therefore, national standards of radiation dose need to be developed for digital mammography and DBT, and these standards will have to be based on breast density and size. Furthermore, any comparison between sizes must account for these differences.

"Once we have a better understanding of how radiation is being used in breast imaging, we will have better targets for dose and image quality optimization moving forward," he said.

Maidment noted that this research is tied to an ongoing study being performed at their institution to assess image quality.

"I like to think of radiation as a currency ... that is used to purchase image quality," he said. "We always are striving for the best quality for the cheapest price."

Learn more in this presentation, which will be given by lead author Bruno Barufaldi.

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