A breast-specific, negligible-dose scatter correction technique for dedicated cone-beam breast CT: A physics-based approach to improve Hounsfield Unit accuracy

Kai Yang, George Burkett, John M Boone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to develop a method to correct the cupping artifact caused from x-ray scattering and to achieve consistent Hounsfield Unit (HU) values of breast tissues for a dedicated breast CT (bCT) system. The use of a beam passing array (BPA) composed of parallel-holes has been previously proposed for scatter correction in various imaging applications. In this study, we first verified the efficacy and accuracy using BPA to measure the scatter signal on a cone-beam bCT system. A systematic scatter correction approach was then developed by modeling the scatter-to-primary ratio (SPR) in projection images acquired with and without BPA. To quantitatively evaluate the improved accuracy of HU values, different breast tissue-equivalent phantoms were scanned and radially averaged HU profiles through reconstructed planes were evaluated. The dependency of the correction method on object size and number of projections was studied. A simplified application of the proposed method on five clinical patient scans was performed to demonstrate efficacy. For the typical 10-18 cm breast diameters seen in the bCT application, the proposed method can effectively correct for the cupping artifact and reduce the variation of HU values of breast equivalent material from 150 to 40 HU. The measured HU values of 100% glandular tissue, 50/50 glandular/adipose tissue, and 100% adipose tissue were approximately 46, -35, and -94, respectively. It was found that only six BPA projections were necessary to accurately implement this method, and the additional dose requirement is less than 1% of the exam dose. The proposed method can effectively correct for the cupping artifact caused from x-ray scattering and retain consistent HU values of breast tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6487-6505
Number of pages19
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 7 2014



  • beam passing array
  • breast imaging
  • cone-beam CT
  • Hounsfield Unit (HU)
  • scatter correction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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