Effect of Breast Compression on Lesion Characteristic Visibility with Diffraction-Enhanced Imaging

Laura S Faulconer, Chris A. Parham, Dean M. Connor, Cherie Kuzmiak, Marcia Koomen, Yeonhee Lee, Kyu Ran Cho, Josh Rafoth, Chad A. Livasy, Eunhee Kim, Donglin Zeng, Elodia Cole, Zhong Zhong, Etta D. Pisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale and Objectives: Conventional mammography can not distinguish between transmitted, scattered, or refracted x-rays, thus requiring breast compression to decrease tissue depth and separate overlapping structures. Diffraction-enhanced imaging (DEI) uses monochromatic x-rays and perfect crystal diffraction to generate images with contrast based on absorption, refraction, or scatter. Because DEI possesses inherently superior contrast mechanisms, the current study assesses the effect of breast compression on lesion characteristic visibility with DEI imaging of breast specimens. Materials and Methods: Eleven breast tissue specimens, containing a total of 21 regions of interest, were imaged by DEI uncompressed, half-compressed, or fully compressed. A fully compressed DEI image was displayed on a soft-copy mammography review workstation, next to a DEI image acquired with reduced compression, maintaining all other imaging parameters. Five breast imaging radiologists scored image quality metrics considering known lesion pathology, ranking their findings on a 7-point Likert scale. Results: When fully compressed DEI images were compared to those acquired with approximately a 25% difference in tissue thickness, there was no difference in scoring of lesion feature visibility. For fully compressed DEI images compared to those acquired with approximately a 50% difference in tissue thickness, across the five readers, there was a difference in scoring of lesion feature visibility. The scores for this difference in tissue thickness were significantly different at one rocking curve position and for benign lesion characterizations. These results should be verified in a larger study because when evaluating the radiologist scores overall, we detected a significant difference between the scores reported by the five radiologists. Conclusions: Reducing the need for breast compression might increase patient comfort during mammography. Our results suggest that DEI may allow a reduction in compression without substantially compromising clinical image quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-440
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • breast compression
  • Diffraction-enhanced imaging
  • reader study
  • refraction contrast

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