SU-E-I-09: The Impact of X-Ray Scattering On Image Noise for Dedicated Breast CT




To quantify the impact of detected x-ray scatter on image noise in flat panel based dedicated breast CT systems and to determine the optimal scanning geometry given practical trade-offs between radiation dose and scatter reduction.


Four different uniform polyethylene cylinders (104, 131, 156, and 184 mm in diameter) were scanned as the phantoms on a dedicated breast CT scanner developed in our laboratory. Both stationary projection imaging and rotational cone-beam CT imaging was performed. For each acquisition type, three different x-ray beam collimations were used (12, 24, and 109 mm measured at isocenter). The aim was to quantify image noise properties (pixel variance, SNR, and image NPS) under different levels of x-ray scatter, in order to optimize the scanning geometry. For both projection images and reconstructed CT images, individual pixel variance and NPS were determined and compared. Noise measurement from the CT images were also performed with different detector binning modes and reconstruction matrix sizes. Noise propagation was also tracked throughout the intermediate steps of cone-beam CT reconstruction, including the inverse-logarithmic process, Fourier-filtering before backprojection.


Image noise was lower in the presence of higher scatter levels. For the 184 mm polyethylene phantom, the image noise (measured in pixel variance) was ∼30% lower with full cone-beam acquisition compared to a narrow (12 mm) fan-beam acquisition. This trend is consistent across all phantom sizes and throughout all steps of CT image reconstruction.


From purely a noise perspective, the cone-beam geometry (i.e. the full cone-angle acquisition) produces lower image noise compared to the lower-scatter fan-beam acquisition for breast CT. While these results are relevant in homogeneous phantoms, the full impact of scatter on noise in bCT should involve contrast-to-noise-ratio measurements in heterogeneous phantoms if the goal is to optimize the scanning geometry for dedicated breast CT.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (R01 EB002138).