Indexed on: 21 Sep '07Published on: 21 Sep '07Published in: Medical physics
The effect of reduction in dose levels normally used in mammographic screening procedures on the detection of breast lesions were analyzed. Four types of breast lesions were simulated and inserted into clinically-acquired digital mammograms. Dose reduction by 50% and 75% of the original clinically-relevant exposure levels were simulated by adding corresponding simulated noise into the original mammograms. The mammograms were converted into luminance values corresponding to those displayed on a clinical soft-copy display station and subsequently analyzed by Laguerre-Gauss and Gabor channelized Hotelling observer models for differences in detectability performance with reduction in radiation dose. Performance was measured under a signal known exactly but variable detection task paradigm in terms of receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves and area under the ROC curves. The results suggested that luminance mapping of digital mammograms affects performance of model observers. Reduction in dose levels by 50% lowered the detectability of masses with borderline statistical significance. Dose reduction did not have a statistically significant effect on detection of microcalcifications. The model results indicate that there is room for optimization of dose level in mammographic screening procedures.