An advanced X-ray imaging technique called propagation-based phase-contrast CT (PB-CT) can produce diagnostic breast images of better quality than absorption-based CT (AB-CT) at glandular radiation doses similar to or lower than traditional mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis. (DBT). The technology is presently only suitable for synchrotron light sources, but as compact light sources develop, the clinical application may become possible, enhancing breast cancer detection and diagnosis.
Utilizing the Imaging and Medical Beamline, a multidisciplinary team of experts is working on the clinical application of PB-CT. The researchers have now improved the procedure using 12 samples from mastectomy that contained various tumor varieties or benign tumors. They demonstrated that PB-CT could be used with considerably lower doses and produced images of higher quality than AB-CT.
Current breast imaging methods have some drawbacks, but phase-contrast imaging, which takes advantage of both refraction and absorption of transmitted X-rays, may be able to fix that. The 3D images created by DBT lessen the impacts of tissue superimposition from 2D mammography but are less sensitive to calcifications.
Compared to mammography, breast MRI is more sensitive but less precise. Additionally, the test is very costly. Breast CT, on the other hand, performs poorly when it comes to the representation of microcalcifications and has lower spatial clarity.
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