The characterization of breast anatomical metrics using dedicated breast CT

Shih Ying Huang, John M Boone, Kai Yang, Nathan J. Packard, Sarah E. McKenney, Nicolas D. Prionas, Karen K Lindfors, Martin J. Yaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Purpose: Accurate anatomical characterization of the breast is useful in breast phantom development and computer modeling of breast imaging technologies. Capitalizing on the three-dimensional capabilities of dedicated breast CT (bCT), a number of parameters which describe breast shape and fibroglandular distribution are defined. Methods: Among 219 bCT data sets, the effective diameter and length of the pendant breast as well as the breast volume were measured and characterized for each bra cup size. The volume glandular fraction (VGF) was determined as a function of patient age, BIRADS density, bra cup size, and breast diameter. The glandular fraction was examined in coronal and sagittal planes of the breast, and the radial distribution of breast glandular fraction within a coronal bCT image was examined for three breast regions. The areal glandular fraction (AGF) was estimated from two-dimensional projections of the breast (simulated by projecting bCT data sets) and was compared to the corresponding VGF. Results: The effective breast diameter and length increase with increasing bra cup size. The mean breast diameters (± standard error) of bra cup sizes A/AA, B, C, and D/DD were 11.1±0.5, 11.4±0.3, 13.0±0.2, and 13.7±0.2 cm, respectively. VGF was lower among older women and those with larger breast diameter and larger bra cup size. VGF increased as a function of the reported BIRADS density. AGF increased with VGF. Fibroglandular tissue was distributed primarily in the central portion of the breast. Conclusions: Breast metrics were examined and a number of parameters were defined which may be useful for breast modeling. The reported data may provide researchers with useful information for characterizing the breast for various imaging or dosimetry tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2180-2191
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • areal glandular fraction
  • breast CT
  • breast diameter
  • breast length
  • volume glandular fraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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