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Evaluation of Scattering in Cone-Beam Breast Computed Tomography: A Monte Carlo and Experimental Phantom Study

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4 Author(s)
Giovanni Mettivier ; Laboratory of Medical Physics at Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università di Napoli Federico II, INFN, Napoli, Italy ; Paolo Russo ; Nico Lanconelli ; Sergio Lo Meo

In this paper Monte Carlo simulations were performed for X-ray irradiations of breast phantoms of various sizes such as PMMA cylinders of different diameters and a hemi-ellipsoidal PMMA phantom. The aim was the evaluation of the 2D distribution of primary and scattered photons and Scatter-to-Primary Ratio (SPR) in projection images in cone-beam breast Computed Tomography (CT). Irradiation geometry and technique factors reproduce the experimental conditions used for validation measurements with a prototype CT breast scanner. Simulations were performed with GEANT4 software. We varied the phantom diameter and shape, the X-ray tube voltage and added filtration. Magnification was 1.31. SPR increases from 0.4 (at 8 cm cylinder diameter) up to 1.5 (14 cm cylinder diameter) at the centre of the phantom. In the same phantom, SPR has lower values toward the bases of the cylinder than at its centre. The scatter component increases by adopting a 50 kVp or higher tube voltages, up to 80 kVp, and by increasing the added filtration. Simulated and measured lateral profiles across a 14 cm cylinder diameter in projection images show a relative deviation of 4%. Simulations show a different distribution of scatter and SPR in a 14 cm diameter cylinder and 14 cm hemi-ellipsoidal phantom, so questioning the use of simple cylindrical geometries when simulating the attenuation of the pendant breast for scatter correction procedures. The strength and the non-uniformity of the SPR inside the cylindrical phantom decrease as the size of the air gap between object and detector increases.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science  (Volume:57 ,  Issue: 5 )