X-ray phase-contrast computed tomography for full-breast mastectomy imaging at the Australian Synchrotron

Benedicta D. Arhatari, Yakov I. Nesterets, Seyedamir T. Taba, Anton Maksimenko, Christopher J. Hall, Andrew W. Stevenson, Daniel Häusermann, Sarah J. Lewis, Matthew Dimmock, Darren Thompson, Sheridan C. Mayo, Harry M. Quiney, Timur E. Gureyev, Patrick C. Brennan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


One of the imaging modalities offered by the Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMBL) at the Australian Synchrotron is Xray phase-contrast propagation-based computed tomography (PB-CT). The unique combination of high coherence and high brightness of radiation produced by synchrotron X-ray sources enables phase contrast imaging with excellent sensitivity to small density differences in soft tissues and tumors. The PB-CT images using spatially coherent radiation show high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) without reducing the spatial resolution. This is due to the combined effect of forward free-space propagation and the advanced step of phase retrieval in the reconstruction processes that allows to accommodate noisier recorded images. This gives an advantage of potentially reducing the radiation dose delivered to the sample whilst preserving the reconstructed image quality. It is expected that the PB-CT technique will be well suited for diagnostic breast imaging in the near future with the advantage that it could provide better tumor detection and characterization/grading than mammography and other breast imaging modalities/techniques in general. The PB-CT technique is expected to reduce false negative and false positive cancer diagnoses that result from overlapping regions of tissue in 2D mammography and avoid patient pain and discomfort that results from breast compression. The present paper demonstrates that PB-CT produces superior results for imaging low-density materials such as breast mastectomy samples, when compared to the conventional absorption-based CT collected at the same radiation dose. The performance was quantified in terms of both the measured objective image characteristics and the subjective scores from radiological assessments. This work is part of the ongoing research project aimed at the introduction of 3D X-ray medical imaging at the IMBL as innovative tomographic methods to improve the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. Major progress of this project includes the characterization of a large number of mastectomy samples, both normal and cancerous.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XIII
EditorsBert Muller, Ge Wang
Place of PublicationWashington USA
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781510645196
ISBN (Print)9781510645189
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XIII 2021 - San Diego, United States of America
Duration: 1 Aug 20215 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XIII 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Diego


  • Breast mastectomy imaging
  • Computed tomography
  • Phase-contrast
  • Synchrotron

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