Characterization of a constrained paired-view technique in iterative reconstruction for breast tomosynthesis


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The order in which the projection views are employed in the reconstruction of tomosynthesis by iterative algorithms, such as simultaneous algebraic reconstruction technique and maximum likelihood, has a strong effect on the rate of convergence, accuracy, and the edge-blurring artifacts in the reconstructed image. The purpose of this investigation was to characterize and evaluate the effects of ordering schemes on image quality for breast tomosynthesis reconstruction and to explore a new constrained paired-view technique that could provide reduction of reconstruction artifacts. In this work, the authors compared several different ordering schemes and characterized the image quality and the formation of out-of-plane artifacts. Furthermore, a new normalization method is presented. It produces more accurate reconstructions with reduced artifacts comparing to the standard method of sequential ordering.


In addition to visual assessment of image quality, several indices such as the signal-difference-to-noise ratio, the artifact-spread function, and the lesion detectability (d) were computed to quantitatively evaluate the effect of ordering scheme. The sets of breast tomosynthesis projection images were simulated for reconstruction; one set had uniform background (white noise only) and the other two contained both anatomic background and quantum noise. Clinical breast images were also studied for comparison.


The authors have quantified the image quality in reconstructed slices for a range of tumor sizes. The authors’ proposed method provides better performance for all of the metrics tested (contrast, d, and the level of artifacts) both for the uniform phantom case and in the presence of anatomical structure.


The paired projection normalization provides better performance in the image quality of the reconstructed slices, and results in a lower level of artifacts in the Z direction. This implies that even a relatively simple method like the “side-to-side” sequence, which pairs two symmetrical projections with equal angular distance from the central projection, would achieve better reconstructed image quality than the conventional “step-by-step” method, which uses sequential projections one after another.