The aim of this work was the evaluation of the software BreastSimulator, a breast x-ray imaging simulation software, as a tool for the creation of 3D uncompressed breast digital models and for the simulation and the optimization of computed tomography (CT) scanners dedicated to the breast. Eight 3D digital breast phantoms were created with glandular fractions in the range 10%-35%. The models are characterised by different sizes and modelled realistic anatomical features. X-ray CT projections were simulated for a dedicated cone-beam CT scanner and reconstructed with the FDK algorithm. X-ray projection images were simulated for 5 mono-energetic (27, 32, 35, 43 and 51 keV) and 3 poly-energetic x-ray spectra typically employed in current CT scanners dedicated to the breast (49, 60, or 80 kVp). Clinical CT images acquired from two different clinical breast CT scanners were used for comparison purposes. The quantitative evaluation included calculation of the power-law exponent, β, from simulated and real breast tomograms, based on the power spectrum fitted with a function of the spatial frequency, f, of the form S(f) = α/fβ. The breast models were validated by comparison against clinical breast CT and published data. We found that the calculated β coefficients were close to that of clinical CT data from a dedicated breast CT scanner and reported data in the literature. In evaluating the software package BreastSimulator to generate breast models suitable for use with breast CT imaging, we found that the breast phantoms produced with the software tool can reproduce the anatomical structure of real breasts, as evaluated by calculating the β exponent from the power spectral analysis of simulated images. As such, this research tool might contribute considerably to the further development, testing and optimisation of breast CT imaging techniques.
- anatomical structure
- breast CT
- breast model
- software simulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging