Development of a patient-specific two-compartment anthropomorphic breast phantom

Nicolas D. Prionas, George W. Burkett, Sarah E. McKenney, Lin Chen, Robin L Stern, John M Boone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to develop a technique for the construction of a two-compartment anthropomorphic breast phantom specific to an individual patient's pendant breast anatomy. Three-dimensional breast images were acquired on a prototype dedicated breast computed tomography (bCT) scanner as part of an ongoing IRB-approved clinical trial of bCT. The images from the breast of a patient were segmented into adipose and glandular tissue regions and divided into 1.59mm thick breast sections to correspond to the thickness of polyethylene stock. A computer-controlled water-jet cutting machine was used to cut the outer breast edge and the internal regions corresponding to glandular tissue from the polyethylene. The stack of polyethylene breast segments was encased in a thermoplastic skin and filled with water. Water-filled spaces modeled glandular tissue structures and the surrounding polyethylene modeled the adipose tissue compartment. Utility of the phantom was demonstrated by inserting 200m microcalcifications as well as by measuring point dose deposition during bCT scanning. Affine registration of the original patient images with bCT images of the phantom showed similar tissue distribution. Linear profiles through the registered images demonstrated a mean coefficient of determination (r 2) between grayscale profiles of 0.881. The exponent of the power law describing the anatomical noise power spectrum was identical in the coronal images of the patient's breast and the phantom. Microcalcifications were visualized in the phantom at bCT scanning. The real-time air kerma rate was measured during bCT scanning and fluctuated with breast anatomy. On average, point dose deposition was 7.1% greater than the mean glandular dose. A technique to generate a two-compartment anthropomorphic breast phantom from bCT images has been demonstrated. The phantom is the first, to our knowledge, to accurately model the uncompressed pendant breast and the glandular tissue distribution for a specific patient. The modular design of the phantom allows for studies of a single breast segment and the entire breast volume. Insertion of other devices, materials and tissues of interest into the phantom provide a robust platform for future breast imaging and dosimetry studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4293-4307
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 7 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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