NPS comparison of anatomical noise characteristics in mammography, tomosynthesis, and breast CT images using power law metrics

Lin Chen, John M Boone, Anita Nosratieh, Craig K. Abbey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Digital mammography is the current standard for breast cancer screening, however breast tomosynthesis and breast CT (bCT) have been studied in clinical trials. At our institution, 30 women (BIRADS 4 and 5) underwent IRB-approved imaging by mammography, breast tomosynthesis, and bCT on the same day. Twenty three data sets were used for analysis. The 2D noise power spectrum (NPS) was computed and averaged for each data set. The NPS was computed for different slice thicknesses of dx × N, where dx ≈ 0.3 mm and N=1-64, on the bCT data. Each 2D NPS was radially averaged, and the 1D data were fit using a power law function as proposed by Burgess: NPS(f) = αf. The value of β was determined over a range of frequencies corresponding to anatomical noise, for each patient and each modality. Averaged over the 30 women (26 for bCT, 28 for tomosynthesis, 28 for mammography), for mammography β=3.06 (0.25), for CC tomosynthesis β=2.91 (0.35), and for axial bCT β=1.72 (0.47). For sagittal bCT β=1.77 (0.36) and for coronal bCT, β=1.88 (0.45). The computation of β versus slice thickness on the coronal bCT data set led to β≈1.7 for N=1, asymptotically reaching β ≈ 3 for larger slice thickness. These results suggest that there is a fundamental difference in breast anatomic noise as characterized by β, between thin slices (<2 mm) and thicker slices. Tomosynthesis was found to have anatomic noise properties closer to mammography than breast CT, most likely due to the relatively thick slice sensitivity profile of tomosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2011
EventMedical Imaging 2011: Physics of Medical Imaging - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: Feb 13 2011Feb 17 2011


OtherMedical Imaging 2011: Physics of Medical Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • breast cancer
  • computed tomography
  • Mammography
  • tomosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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