Comprehensive assessment of the slice sensitivity profiles in breast tomosynthesis and breast CT

Anita Nosratieh, Kai Yang, Shadi Aminololama-Shakeri, John M Boone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study experimentally evaluated the slice sensitivity profile (SSP) and its relationship between acquisition angle, object size, and cone angle. The sensitivity profile metric was used to characterize a breast tomosynthesis systems resolution in the z-axis. The SSP was also measured on a prototype breast computed tomography (bCT) system. Methods: The SSP was measured using brass disks placed within adipose tissue-equivalent breast phantoms. The digital tomosynthesis system (Selenia Dimensions, Hologic Corporation, Bedford, MA) acquires projection images over a 15° angular range and the bCT scanner acquires projection images over a 360° angular range. Angular ranges between 15° and 360° were studied by using a subset of the projection images acquired on the bCT scanner. The SSP was determined by measuring a background-corrected mean gray scale value as a function of the z-position (axis normal to the plane of the detector). Results: The results show that SSP improves when the angular acquisition range is increased and the SSP approaches a delta function for angles greater than 180°. Smaller objects have a narrower SSP and the SSP is not significantly dependent on the cone angle. For a 2.5, 5, 10 mm disk, the full width at half maximum of the SSP was 35, 61, 115 mm, respectively, on the tomosynthesis system (at 15°) and was 0.5 mm for all disk diameters on the bCT scanner (at 360°). Conclusions: The SSP is dependent on object size and angular acquisition range. These dependencies are overcome once the angular acquisition range is increased beyond 180°.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7254-7261
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • breast imaging
  • image quality
  • tomosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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